Counseling Sheet

Lou Gehrig's Disease

Agatha M. Thrash, M.D.
Preventive Medicine

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease or ALS, is first recognized by weakness and fatigue. It progresses steadily to involve all voluntary movements. ALS families have mutations in a gene that enables the body to produce an enzyme called superoxide dismutase (SOD). In a healthy person, the enzyme protects cells from free radicals. Therefore, ALS families are believed to be at special risk of free radical and other damage to the neuromuscular system and should make it a practice to avoid free fats from birth. They should be very careful to avoid rancid foods. The best sources of fats are beans, whole grain breads, peas, nuts, seeds, olives, and avocados. These should be eaten daily to provide adequate fatty acids for health.


A number of agricultural workers exposed to agricultural chemicals, particularly pesticides, have been found to have an increased incidence of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, as well as Parkinson's disease and other nerve disorders.


ALS is very difficult to treat. The best routine includes diet, massage, hydrotherapy, physical therapy, exercise, and perhaps some electrical stimulation in areas where there is weakness or particular disability.


Swallowing often becomes difficult and is a particularly serious problem in ALS. Bear in mind that soft foods, rather than liquids or hard foods, can be swallowed most easily. If the patient is not able to chew food very well, it should be blended or pureed in some way so that the food can more easily be swallowed. Very small bites can often be swallowed easier than large bites.

For nerve disorders of several kinds, British researchers recently found that sensitivity to gluten grains was a major factor in 53 of 147 patients with undiagnosed nerve disorders. The gluten grains are wheat, rye, barley, and oats. These should be totally eliminated from the diet for six months for a test. If you would like to read more about it, the original article was published in Lancet, Vol. 347, page 369-371, February 10, 1996.


If a person has access to saunas or treatment baths, we recommend the baths, raising the mouth temperature to around 101° F. If you prefer to give the baths at home, they can be done following the instructions in the counseling material offered by Uchee Pines called How to Boost the Immune System. If the patient can no longer get into a tub, fomentations to the spine and chest may be adequate to raise the mouth temperature to 100° F or more.

Vitamins and Herbs

Vitamin E may be beneficial in a certain subgroup of ALS patients, those who have abnormalities in chromosome 21, and SOD abnormality. This abnormality appears in approximately 20% of patients with a family history of ALS. Archives of Neurology. 54(5):527-8; May 1997.

Herbal remedies can be helpful. We recommend ginkgo, cat's claw, and hawthorn berry in routine quantity - four cups of the tea daily or equivalent doses of pills. The first of these three herbs is for general circulation to internal structures; the second a strengthener for the immune system and a general healing herb; and the third has anti-inflammatory properties as well as muscle stimulatory properties. It stimulates the heart, and can also stimulate the contraction of the smooth muscles of swallowing.

Case History

Dr. Frank Lang treated his wife Charlotte with the treatments listed above, and he also gave her 100 milligrams of CoQ-10 three times daily. It seemed to slow down the process and perhaps achieve some reversal. He used also NADH or Coenzyme 1, one tablet per day, and five or six tablets of garlic three or four times daily on the possible chance that MS or ALS is related to a fungus infection. This idea was based on research done at Vanderbilt. We believe he was able to prolong her life several years with the treatments.

Contact Us For More Information

Uchee Pines Lifestyle Center
30 Uchee Pines Road #75
Seale, Alabama 36875