Bigger Than the Ice Bucket Challenge


It popped into our lives 90 days ago and grew like nothing I’d ever seen. Bigger than Shake Weight, and with more power than Psy’s “Gangnam Style,” the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge pulled eyeballs to digital devices worldwide and plucked bucks from our pockets to help others in need. More than $100 million has been donated to the ALS Association in the months following the flash, and many have learned more about this little-understood disease in those three months than in the past three decades.

Why hadn’t more been done for ALS in the past decades? Why did it take so long to grab a headline beyond one tied to Lou Gehrig, the baseball legend who died from the disease? The reasons just might surprise you and it’s most definitely bigger than the ice bucket.

My friend Dr. Craig Oster, who has ALS and has been living with it for more than 20 years (well beyond any expected span), connects how he eats and moves with his longtime survivor status. In fact, he believes nutrition and exercise are at the core of why his body remains active in his recovery. Oster has criticized the ALS Association (ALSA) and Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) for recommending that those who suffer from ALS keep their weight up by using large amounts of refined sugar. This directive has come from studies that those with ALS who have a normal weight also have longer life spans.

ALSA recommends massive amounts of processed sugar in the diets of people who have been diagnosed with ALS. “Rubbish!” says Oster. “We’re talking processed sugar, the kind found in so many poisonous products.” He argues that this idea of getting calories regardless of source is misguided and likely even harmful. But his coverage of this issue on has been met with silence. With all we know about nutrition and sugar’s effect on the body, why isn’t anyone else speaking up?

Oster should know. He entered hospice in 2008 only to gain 40 pounds back and move home in 2009 after having integrated a nutritionally sound way of living rather than fixing to die.
Oster points to research showing sugar consumption’s connection to weakened immune system functioning, inflammation, fatigue and depression. Oster smells something sour in his experience with ALSA and demands a conversation, not just ice buckets. Oster has been asking to speak with ALSA for years, and they have ignored him.

Oster is not alone in thinking nutrition and exercise is connected to survivor rates. Coco Newton, MPH, RD, CCN, says that her inquiries to ALSA have been met with similar silence. Coco’s husband, Roger Newton, a pioneering scientist who helped develop Lipitor, and Steve Smith, a former NFL player from the Oakland Raiders who has ALS, were also blown off.

Why ALSA and MDA won’t agree to discuss research is impossible for me to say. When NaturalNews dug for information, they learned that MDA’s clinical trials have used nutritional products containing sugar and MSG from the same manufacturing food company that makes the food products they recommend for patients with ALS.

Are MDA and ALSA in that food company’s pocket? That might explain why they want no business with anyone suggesting a nutritional alternative. What will it take for the major ALS organizations to recommend holistic nutrition advice to fight ALS and neuromuscular diseases? To ALSA and MDA, here’s the Brad Lamm Challenge: respond to Dr. Oster and those battling the disease with transparency in research and treatment.