Sense of Smell Affects Balance: The Scientific Evidence

The response to the previous blog has been great. As promised, I’m presenting the scientific evidence.

The research shows that olfaction (sense of smell) is necessary not only for protection but also for digestion, memory, emotions, and motor skills such as maintenance of balance. If the sense of smell is “off”, its effect on the body will be “off.” The following is what Lisa Ann had to say about her experience with odors:
“I joke that I have a super nose. I can detect odors others miss. Sadly, certain perfumes immediately distort my balance. I know it is an allergic type reaction, but we ask anyone entering our home to skip the perfume. I have actually passed out from excessive perfume. I do not see this as MS related. I know many other people with this. On a final note, we never visit stores where well meaning clerks spritz perfume without our consent.”

Although an altered sense of smell may be the initial symptom of MS, it may wax and wane and become progressive along with its effects. However, breathing purified air in your home will go a long way in rejuvenating the sense of your smell. Smelling the odor emitted by the peelings of oranges and lemons can be fruitful. After all, you’re told that eating several helpings of fruits daily is healthy. Carry it an additional step—-smell the fresh odor.

Publications:

1. Proc Am Thorac Soc. Mar 1, 2011; 8(1): 46–52.
Olfaction
Jayant M. Pinto
2. PLoS One. 2014; 9(7): e103151.
Detection of Olfactory Dysfunction Using Olfactory Event Related Potentials in Young Patients with Multiple Sclerosis
Fabrizia Caminiti, et al
3. J Neurosurg Nurs. 1985 Oct;17(5):273-9.
The widespread influence of olfaction.
Brown I A
4. Am J Occup Ther. 1979 Mar;33(3):185-92.
Olfaction and muscle Activity: An EMG Pilot Study
Schwartz RK.
5. PLoS ONE. 2008; 3(2): e1702.
Distinct Olfactory Cross-Modal Effects on the Human Motor System
Simone Rossi, et al
6. Eur J Nutr. Sep 2012; 51(6): 637–663.
Critical review: vegetables and fruit in the prevention of chronic diseases
Heiner Boeing, et al
7. http://www.air-purifiers-america.com/product.asp?product=t500

Dr. Rudy Cartwright
MS Health Coach

18 thoughts on “Sense of Smell Affects Balance: The Scientific Evidence

  1. I have not been diagnosed with MS yet but I am displaying many of the signs and symptoms. I liked the last video speaking about the chipping away at the ice burg.

    • Rebella,

      What does your personal physician say about your problems?

      Dr. Rudy Cartwright
      MS Health Coach

  2. Eating correctly and mental approach are the two keys to managing M.S. Take supplements and do Yoga. I have had M.S. for three years and haven’t had an exacerbation since the first one and I believe it’s due to taking better care of myself through diet and low stress. Live every day thankful because someone has it worse than you.

  3. Hi everyone,I have had ms for 6 years now, for the first couple of weeks I was feeling sorry for myself, so I did a trip up to my wife’s school which is a special needs school for kids; it was then I realised to snap out of it, so to this day I’ve barely spoke about it. I drive pretty big trucks back here in Australia and do big hours with it; so my days are long; having ms hasn’t stopped me doing what I love. I am also an artist with a good profile here and overseas. I am president of an art gallery were I show some of my work; when I’m not driving trucks and painting on canvas,I restore kombivan; so there’s no rest for the wicked, as Aussies say, flatout like a lizard drinking. I started taking the essentials 6 months ago. I feel I have alot more energy than I ever had. I bounce out of bed where I used to fall out. I can keep going when driving my truck into the night; best thing I did; as for sense of smell, I still smell hamburgers when passing tricksters,haha. I guess what I’m saying here to anyone that has ms is if you think you would like to do something but don’t think you can, I say give it a go or you will never know; I hope I have inspired some of you that have this unfortunate illness with warmest regards Rob

  4. Hi I read with interest and digest every video and narrative that I recieve. I have been diangosed with MS for 3 years, however I am sure I have had it longer. I have suffered with a plathora of relaspes some more milder than others. I hated it when on holiday in beautiful Mexico my relapse meant I was unalbe to go out due to the heat. Oh the joys of this monster within! Still I had a brilliant time and enjoyed every moment of the weather and Mexico. Your videos and advice are super and very imformative. I have changed my diet and excercise regulary so as not to become too unwell. However, living with MS is sometimes a grind.

  5. You asked Rebella what reaction did she get from her physician. Hope it is better than from my GP.

    I have no knowledge of MS, – Honesty is the best policy, I have to agree. But when you are newly diagnosed it is a shock. I asked to speak to the practice manager. My question – Is there any Doctor in this practice (of 15 doctors) who has a working knowledge of MS. Her first reaction was ‘why?’ her second reaction was ‘ I am sure your GP will do his best to research your symptoms’. 6 years later and he still has no clue. I do the research – I tell him what page to read –

    I have PPMS – I am of the opinion no one is interested – because there is no cure – but my quality of life is important to me.

    • Wendie,

      Even with PPMS, there are a number of things you can do. Also keep in mind that you might have arrive at the incorrect conclusion about your condition. Be that as it may, a number of procedural steps may be helpful.

      Dr. Cartwright
      MS Health Coach

        • Daneen,

          The first procedural step is to eliminate contact with as many of the chemical as possible that do harm to the nervous system. These chemicals can be found in plastic bottles, metal cans, food additives, toys, pesticides, detergents, flame retardants, and cosmetics. And don’t forget to check your living accommodations for toxic mold. This is the short list. Of course, you can think of many others. Taking appropriate action seems to be the prudent thing to do. Give it a go. What do you have to gain? When you know better, you do better.

          Dr. Rudy Cartwright
          MS Health Coach

      • Wendie,

        In an earlier reply to you, I made reference to procedural steps that can be taken that could possibly help PPMS. I shoul had gone on and stated that A huge procedural step is to eliminate contact with as many of the chemical as possible that do harm to the nervous system. These chemicals can be found in plastic bottles, metal cans, food additives, toys, pesticides, detergents, flame retardants, and cosmetics. And don’t forget to check your living accommodations for toxic mold. This is the short list. Of course, you can think of many others. Taking appropriate action seems to be the prudent thing to do. Give it a go. What do you have to gain? When you know better, you do better.

        Dr. Rudy Cartwright
        MS Health Coach

  6. For most of my working years (46), I did not know I had MS, and was very active. When symptoms became established, I was finally diagnosed. All my tests were positive [CSF, MRI, and AG ratio]. After that I lost more balance, but my coworkers were very helpful. By then, I had a desk job, and people “ran” to me rather than me running about. However, now that I’m retired, I’m finding taking care of my house often daunting. Due to that, I am looking into “retirement” places. I enjoy family activities and hope to still enjoy them.

  7. I have had MS since the age of sixteen. It started with a sports injury.
    I am now 67 and yes it is a grind but there are so many people a lot worse off. ATTITUDE is
    huge. Eating right is huge plus the right supplements and making sure to detox the body.

    I am so grateful for people like Dr. Cartwright who want to help us.

    My book Never Never NEVER Give Up – an inspiring MS journey you can order on my website.

  8. Hello Dr. Rudy!
    I got dx 20 years ago and started right away with water filter and good supplements as well as diet and lifestyle. My left leg is dragging now, I had some falls in the house, and now I use a walker and sometimes scooter. Eating very little starch, and no dairy, gluten, almonds and eggs.
    I keep getting bladder infections, and the antibiotics or the d’Mannose and Cranberry juice can’t kill the bug. I know this is why my balance is affected. Not sure what else to do. Taking 10’000IU of vitamin D now, with some liquid K2 and Krill oil, vit. B, B12 sublingual, and more.
    I also have Osteoporosis and I am post menopause, age 56, and get sore legs after I eat!! It has been getting better with the Kombucha tea, which I now make myself. Suggestions please! I want to do it as natural as possible. Born and raised in Switzerland for 20 years 🙂
    Katharina

    • i have had ms for 11 years and when its hot i cant walk~ i look after myself as my husband divorcf me and lucky i have no children and the heat cream sounds great thank you

  9. I live in a very rural area. 20 years ago, I could no longer work, at age 39. I tried every doctor in our county, most said I must be depressed, and many ‘fired’ me as a patient because I wouldn’t believe there was no getting well.
    I then went to Portland, Oregon, the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, Stanford and other places. No one could decide what was wrong with me. I had absolutely no balance, and was totally drained, no energy, which I was always energetic, spent my days in the forest, and was a very happy person.

    Finally, a neurologist sent me for an MRI, which was read as “too many lesions to count.” Then he sent me for a Spinal tap. While in the hospital, I, my Mom, and my husband tried to ask him 2 questions. He said I had MS, (no idea what kind), and said he had no time for our questions!

    Now, for about 13 years, I have lived on my left side with no balance and no strength. I can’t even sit up in a wheel chair, or walk with help.
    So PLEASE, everyone, don’t give up and let the doctors with NO idea, blame your illness on depression. I knew every dirt road within 25 miles of our little town, I went fishing, and worked in the forest until I got sick. And I was NEVER depressed!
    I get $150/month for FULL Disability, because I refused to admit I would not be getting well, and did not ask for Disability soon enough after I could no longer work.
    Don’t EVER GIVE UP! And trust your own body.
    Lin

    • I just wanted to add, thank you for this information, Dr. Rudy. My Mom has been reading all of your emails as my vision isn’t much to speak of any more. You are one of a kind, I have never heard of a doctor working so hard as you, to help patients with MS. God bless you.
      Lin

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