This article has been reviewed and fact-checked by Dr. Rodney Soto, M.D. who is a board-certified doctor in Neurology and Holistic Medicine by the American Board of Holistic and Integrative Medicine.
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive and degenerative neurological disorder that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord and progressively reduces voluntary muscle action.
- ALS occurs most often between the ages of 40 and 70, with military veterans approximately twice as likely to get diagnosed as the general public.1
- Research is ongoing and shows some promise, but to date, there is no cure.
- Conventional treatment includes medication to manage symptoms as well as speech therapy, physical therapy, and nutritional support.
- LifeWorks Wellness Center offers a one-of-a-kind, all-natural treatment program for patients with ALS
We’ll look at what ALS is and how we treat it naturally at LifeWorks.
What Is ALS?
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a progressive and neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Motor neurons travel from the brain to the spinal cord and then to the muscles throughout the body. However, the progressive degeneration of these motor neurons eventually leads to their death.
When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become paralyzed.
It is believed that up to a third of those diagnosed with ALS may be affected by cognitive issues.
There are two types of ALS: sporadic and familial.
Sporadic ALS is the most common form of the disease and can affect anyone, anywhere, meaning there is no known history of the disease in a family. In the U.S. it accounts for 90-95% of all cases.2
Familial ALS (FALS)
Familial ALS (FALS) means that the disease is inherited. In those families, there is a 50% chance each offspring will inherit the gene mutation and may develop the disease. FALS accounts for 5 to 10% of all cases in the U.S.1
The initial symptoms of ALS vary from person to person and usually involve a gradual onset. It can manifest in difficulty with grasping a pen, lifting a coffee mug, or experiencing a change in vocal pitch when speaking.
Progression of the disease can also vary from person to person, with the mean survival time being 3 to 5 years, although many people live 5 to 10 years after onset.3
- Muscle weakness
- Dropping things
- Abnormal fatigue of the arms or legs
- Difficulty walking
- Slurred or nasal speech
- Muscle cramps and twitches
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
- Uncontrollable periods of laughing or crying
- Weight loss
- Painful neuropathy
- Difficulty breathing as the respiratory muscles weaken
Interestingly, the sense of sight, touch, hearing, taste, and smell are not affected.
What Causes ALS?
As part of a wider group of disorders known as motor neuron diseases, ALS is caused by a gradual deterioration and death of motor neurons. Motor neurons are nerve cells that extend from the brain to the spinal cord and muscles throughout the body. These motor neurons initiate and provide communication links between the brain and the voluntary muscles.
In ALS, both the upper motor neurons (those in the brain) and the lower motor neurons (those in the spinal cord and muscles) degenerate or die and stop sending messages to the muscles. Gradually the muscles start to weaken, twitch, and waste away or atrophy.
Eventually, the brain loses its ability to initiate and control voluntary movements.
Gradually all muscles under voluntary control are affected and individuals lose their strength and the ability to eat, speak, move, and breathe. This is why most people with ALS die from respiratory failure, usually within 3 to 5 years from the first appearance of symptoms.4
The discovery of certain genetic mutations involved in ALS suggests that changes in the processing of RNA molecules may lead to ALS-related motor neuron degeneration. Scientists are also studying the impact of environmental factors, for example, exposure to toxic or infectious agents, viruses, physical trauma, diet, and behavioral and occupational factors.
At present, the cause of ALS is still unknown; however, evidence from scientific studies suggest that both genetics and environment play a role in the development of ALS.
Who Gets ALS?
Anyone can get amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, as Sporadic ALS is the most common form of the disease, with genetics comprising only 5 to 10% of all cases. According to the ALS Association, the following are statistics about who gets ALS:3
- The onset of ALS usually occurs between the ages of 40 and 70 although it can occur at any age, and there are at least 16,000 estimated Americans who have the disease.3
- Men are slightly more likely than women to develop ALS, and Caucasians and non-Hispanics are most likely to develop the disorder.
- Military veterans are approximately twice as likely to be diagnosed with the disease as the general public. Although the reason is unclear, possible risk factors include exposure to lead, pesticides, and other environmental toxins. ALS is recognized as a service-connected disease by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.4
Conventional Treatment for ALS
Conventional diagnosis of ALS is difficult, and there is no one test or procedure to establish it. It is through a clinical examination and a series of diagnostic tests, often ruling out other diseases that mimic ALS, that a diagnosis is established.
Conventional treatments for ALS involve the use of medications to help manage symptoms and make living with the disease easier. Conventional treatments may include:
- Physical Therapy - Physical therapy and special equipment can help enhance an individual’s independence and safety. Gentle, low-impact aerobic exercise such as walking, swimming, and stationary bicycling help by improving cardiovascular health, strengthening unaffected muscles, and help people fight fatigue and depression. Range of motion and stretching exercises can help prevent shortening of muscles.
- Speech Therapy - Speech therapy is helpful for people with ALS who have difficulty speaking.
- Nutritional Support - Nutritional support is very important as people with ALS tend to lose weight because they tend to burn calories at a faster rate than most people without ALS and can easily become malnourished.
- Breathing Support - As the disease progresses and muscles continue to weaken, including the muscles responsible for breathing, there are methods to support breathing. Noninvasive ventilation (NIV) is usually delivered through a mask over the nose and/or mouth whenever needed. It can improve the quality of life and prolong survival for many individuals with ALS. Mechanical ventilation may be considered to help the patient breathe when they become unable to breathe on their own.
- Emotional Support - Finally, conventional treatment includes emotional support through mental health counseling, patient education, and treatment of the anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues that often accompany this chronic and progressive disease.
Rather than simply managing symptoms, here at LifeWorks Wellness Center we approach diagnosis and treatment from a holistic perspective, addressing the disease and the body as a whole.
Alternative Treatment for ALS
Instead of thinking of ALS as a fixed, static condition, we look at it as a deterioration of one or more systems and functions of the body, which create the symptoms that have been labeled as “ALS”.
One or more systems in the body can deteriorate or malfunction when the body has been chronically overwhelmed or unable to keep up with normal repair functions. This usually comes about due to some chronic underlying factors (like an infection, toxicity, pathogen, an autoimmune condition, etc). These hidden factors are diverting your body’s precious energy and resources away from normal maintenance and repair functions and into coping with these other situations. And that sets the stage for a disease process to take hold.
Our approach is based on locating and treating these hidden underlying factors. This approach opens the door to more treatment vectors to address and correct, which eliminates these hidden burdens and restores precious energy and normal function, thereby releasing the full miraculous healing power of the human body. And that’s why we see amazing health progress with patients and even recoveries using this approach.
Looking for Underlying Factors
We use both conventional and alternative methods to locate these contributory factors. Our testing may include one or more of the following:
- CNS neurocognitive test - assesses the neurocognitive status of the patient including motor skills and performance, memory, attention, and executive functioning.
- MRI with volumetrics - assesses neurodegeneration even at the early stages.
- MoCA cognitive assessment - reveals information on cognitive functioning.
- Vascular health assessment - shows symptoms of heart and vascular disease and the status of the patient’s blood circulation and blood pressure
- Nutritional & dietary deficiency testing
- Testing of neurotransmitters, hormones, minerals, essential fatty acids, and other nutritional markers.
- Testing for inflammatory markers
- Testing for autoimmune conditions
- Testing for heavy metal toxicity
- Testing for food allergies
- Testing for Lyme disease
- Testing for Leaky Gut Syndrome
Once all the necessary diagnostics are completed, our team of doctors will formulate a treatment program tailor-made for the patient.
Natural Treatment Interventions for ALS
We believe that patients with ALS and other neurological issues can make significant improvements using a holistic approach. Our alternative treatment options seek to address the underlying contributory factors that lead the body to attack the central nervous system.
To accomplish this, we use a variety of alternative treatments and therapies based on the findings of the test results.
- Autoimmune Treatment - This therapy works to restore a properly functioning immune system that may be attacking the patient’s own body.
- Repairing Gut Issues - addressing Leaky Gut Syndrome which is a common trigger for autoimmunity and inflammation.
- Peptide Therapy - This therapy utilizes specific chains of amino acids called peptides to signal cells to turn on or turn off certain functions. This works to help regulate and rejuvenate neuroendocrine-immune function.
- Exosome Therapy - As in peptide therapy, these cell-derived nanoparticles play a vital role in cell-to-cell communication. They help regulate physiological processes and regenerate older cells by exposing them to exosomes from younger stem cells.
- Plasmapheresis - This process separates the plasma from the blood where it is treated and returned to the body.
- Addressing Inflammation - We test and treat systemic inflammation, infections, gut issues, other causes of inflammation.
- Food Allergy Treatment - food allergies can trigger autoimmune conditions. In the case of neurological conditions, the body attacks the parts of the central nervous system, thereby diminishing its proper function and leading to conditions like MS and other neurological disorders.
- Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)- delivers pure oxygen to the patient in a pressurized chamber. Has been shown effective for neurological conditions.
- Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) Technology - emission of electromagnetic waves to stimulate the body’s healing properties
- Enhanced External Counterpulsation - increases blood flow, allowing more oxygen to flow and alleviate symptoms of poor circulation.
- Vielight NeURO - delivers photons to a light-sensitive enzyme in the mitochondria which is known to trigger self-repair mechanisms in the cells, enhance cognition, and protect cell neurons.
- BrainHQ - brain training exercises that improve brain health.
- Health Coaching - This intervention helps patients keep track of their nutrition, exercise, supplements, and other suggested changes.
- BrainTap - Tapping into specific brainwave states, BrainTap helps to reboot and revitalize the brain, promotes relaxation, and reduces stress on the body and mind.
- Dietary and Nutritional Deficiencies - clearing up nutritional deficiencies, supporting the body with the right nutraceuticals to improve brain health including macro/micronutrients, minerals, hormones, neurotransmitters, essential fatty acids, etc.
- Intermittent Fasting - Through intermittent fasting, the body is able to heal instead of always processing food. LifeWorks utilizes the KetoFlex 12/3 way of eating which means that patients eat their food during a 10-12-hour window and not eating within three hours of going to bed.
- Celergen - This is an anti-aging cell therapy supplement that promotes cell renewal and stimulation.
After 2 years of chasing symptoms, and seeing multiple doctors and specialists, I was finally given the most cruel death sentence of ALS by a neurologist and this got confirmed by another neurologist. I got worse by the day and eventually had to get a feeding tube as I wasn’t able to absorb food without spending hours over a toilet coughing up phlegm and food.
Eventually we found Dr. Minkoff and made an appointment to see him on the 4th of January 2016. By the time I got here, I couldn’t even stand up without losing breath and had to be carted around in a wheelchair. I felt so bad that I thought I might die soon or hospitalized and not be able to get back to Canada.
After thorough testing, I was diagnosed to have Lyme disease as well as parasites and bacterial infection as well as many other debilitating factors. I began treatment the following day after seeing Dr. Minkoff and within 2 weeks, started feeling better. Each week after that, my health improved in leaps and bounds and 5 weeks into the treatment and supplements, I was now able to walk and stand up for minutes without losing breath. My voice started to return as I was able to say a few words and be understood. I am now able to eat again pureed food with small portions of meat and drink fluids.
I’m no longer fearing death and feel fantastic in comparison to when I got here. I’m totally confident that I will recover to full health by continuing the supplements and treatment.
I want to thank Dr. Minkoff and his staff for saving my life. There are no words that can describe how grateful I am.
Contact Us About Natural ALS Treatment
We help patients from all around the world who are looking for all-natural treatment options for neurological conditions such as ALS.
If you are in search of an alternative treatment approach, we can help. We offer more cutting-edge natural treatments under one roof than any other natural health facility. Our individualized treatments are tailored to your specific situation and needs.
Our highly trained doctors are dedicated to helping you live a healthier life.To discuss your symptoms or to schedule an appointment, call us at our Clearwater clinic at 727-466-6789 or submit an online patient inquiry.
- ALS Therapy Development Institute, What is ALS, 2019.
- The ALS Association, What is ALS, 2019.
- The ALS Association, Who Gets ALS, May 2019.
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Fact Sheet, August 2019.
*Disclaimer: Individual patient results may vary based on a patient's medical history and other factors.