Staying germ-free and being healthy enough to fight off microscopic invaders is of the utmost importance for people with MS. A simple head cold will cause inflammation in your body or could even bring on a relapse. I'm sure many of you have experienced a worsening of your symptoms whilst fighting a cold or flu. You already feel at your worst and then you begin to feel the old MS symptoms coming back or even a few new ones sneaking in.
I have been impressed and amazed at how effectively my body handles germs since I started this way of eating. Having two young children who are always picking up germs, I am constantly exposed to this threat to my health. Often I will start to feel a few symptoms - scratchy throat or tiredness but within a day or two they've completely dissipated. My body wacks those germs over the head and sends them running! I owe this to the plant based diet I eat and to two secret weapons. The first one is BarleyLife, which I have written about in a separate post. The other is Olive Leaf Extract - my new best friend!
As I mentioned in my recent progress post, I discovered Olive Leaf Extract whilst visiting my family in South Africa. They have sworn by it's phenomenal ability to halt sickness in its tracks for a while now. However, I wasn't so convinced. When I looked at the ingredients list I saw that it contained alcohol which I wasn't too thrilled about. So I shrugged it off as one of those hyped up immune boosters that I come across all the time.
When I arrived in SA, I had been fighting a lingering cough and sore throat and was desperate to be done with it once and for all. I had been under a lot of stress and my body hadn't fought off the germs as quickly as usual. So, after the insistence of my family I ended up taking olive leaf extract one night before I went to bed. I was nervous that it was going to affect my sleep but I slept as well as I normally do and woke up feeling a marked improvement in my health. Another day of olive leaf extract was all my body needed to say adios to those germs completely. I was flabbergasted!
Just this weekend I developed a few cold and flu symptoms (thank you to my son) and started increasing my doses of olive leaf. Today, three days later, I'm about 95% fine and I know I'll be 100% tomorrow. This is a huge contrast to the way my body handled germs before I started this lifestyle. It would take me a week to get back to a semi normal state and then there would usually be a lingering cough for another week. Two weeks of feeling below par, not exercising and not getting anything done - not great! I'm overjoyed that I've discovered this way to strengthen my body and avoid sickness. I feel it's a great triumph!
So, let's chat about Olive Leaf Extract, what it is, how it works and the benefits for the body.
Olive Leaf Extract
The leaves, bark and fruit of olive trees contain compounds which protect it from parasites and disease. Some olive trees are believed to have survived for thousands of years which shows just how effective these compounds are at preserving and protecting. The main active compound in olive leaf extract is, Oleuropein. This compound actually breaks down the cell walls of a wide range of pathogenic bacteria and destroys them. In my books, that's super hero stuff! Oleuropein is an iridoid by definition and it exhibits antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal activity. Because of this, it is useful for fighting various types of internal infections.
I need to warn you that some of these benefits may sound too good to be true but more and more research is showing that this is not the case. It's benefits are genuinely amazing. Let's look at them in more detail.
Olive leaf either kills, or resists the multiplication of a broad range of viruses, bacteria, yeasts, fungi, and other parasites in your system. It literally breaks a hole into the cell wall of the bacteria allowing the contents to leak out and be destroyed. True story. It get's better! Olive leaf differs from pure immune boosters in that immune boosters stimulate your immune system to destroy disease which still requires your own energy. In contrast, olive leaf extract mainly does the work for you. This is important when you are run down and is the reason most people regain energy when taking it. In this way olive leaf extract allows your body the opportunity to restore itself much more quickly than immune boosters.
Healing the Gut
More often than not, disease can be traced back to problems in the gut. Human beings have over 500 different species and around 10 trillion bacteria in our intestines alone. Some of these are 'good' and essential to our survival, and some, if they become too plentiful can harm us. Olive leaf can help to inhibit or destroy a wide range of harmful bacteria, fungi and yeasts while allowing the good bacteria to multiply. It deactivates pathogens without harming the good bacteria in the gut. This is the key because when we get sick, we take antibiotics which are known to destroy the good bacteria in the gut, leaving it open to inflammatory conditions such as IBS or Leaky Gut Syndrome.
Good bacteria also plays a huge role in good immunity as about 70% of your immunity resides in your gut with "good" bacteria playing a key role. So, keeping your gut healthy is essential for a healthy immune system. This is why the MS diet really makes a difference to auto-immune conditions.
The healing, antimicrobial and purging effect of olive leaf extract in the gut can't be overstated. Together with a good probiotic formula and a healthy diet, olive leaf extract can do much to right an infected, damaged gut and work miracles in terms of specific complaints and general health.
For this reason it is far better to use olive leaf extract when you feel the first symptoms of a cold before allowing an infection to advance to the point where you need an antibiotic drug. I'll attest to the fact that it definitely stops the progression and multiplication of germs.
Olive leaf also has antioxidant benefits related to the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases. This is great news for those with MS. Free radicals are unstable molecules produced by waste products of the chemical reactions in our cells or externally by pollution. In their attempt to reach equilibrium, free radicals bombard and damage body cells, until they are neutralised or "quenched" by substances called antioxidants.
Antioxidants are nutrients commonly found in fruit and vegetables. Antioxidants are exceptionally important because they end the destructive life of free radicals. By so doing, they are thought to slow down the ageing process of cells and people. With their anti-inflammatory effects, they also contribute to healing and slowing down of disease progression.
Olive leaf extract contains some of the strongest natural antioxidants, much stronger than vitamin C and green tea. It also has anti-inflammatory properties which calms inflammation in our bodies and improves MS symptoms. Amazingly, the compounds in olive leaf extract appear to inhibit the sequence of events leading to certain cancer formation in humans.
Prevention of Sickness
Olive leaf extract can be taken as daily supplement and not just when you start to feel unwell. Having it in your blood stream immediately dulls or obstructs an attack, before your immune system even has time to react. This either fends off an infection or gives your immune system time to manufacture suitable antibodies to fight it. I take one dose each day and when I start feeling the first symptoms of a cold, I increase my dosage to three or fours times a day. Those germs have no chance in my body!
What I Take
I take a brand of Olive Leaf Extract called Nature's Answer. It's great because it's alcohol free, as opposed to the one I took in South Africa. It is in liquid form so that you can drop a few drops into a little water. The taste is quite bitter and sharp so don't get a fright. You'll get used to it. When you see how incredibly it works in your body, the taste won't matter at all.
You can also buy the capsules which I'm sure have the same effect. However, the liquid form will be faster acting. It's also not expensive which is always helpful!
Summing It Up
Olive leaf extract is a life saver on so many levels. It helps with quite a few aspects related to effectively managing MS. Staying well and germ-free is so important when you have MS and olive leaf extract really helps to keep you in tip top condition. I am also amazed at it's ability to help keep the gut healthy and in proper balance. This is also a huge factor in the management of MS. Healthy gut equals less relapses and increased quality of life. Olive leaf extract is going on my top three supplement list - along with vitamin D and BarleyLife. I honestly feel that it's an essential for everyone with MS. What a great discovery! I'm thrilled.
I would love to hear your thoughts on olive leaf extract and how it's worked for you so drop me a line.
Love & Nutrients