Q. What nutritional advice can you give for a healthy recovery from an extremely bad case of botulism?
It is important to be able to ascertain the source of the botulin toxin, so that the person nor others around him could potentially be poisoned again. For instance, if it was from home-canned food, you will probably want to eliminate that from the home.
Recovery from this disease is very slow and requires the return of synaptic function in the peripheral nervous system, which can only be done by building new synapses.
If the person is able to swallow, we would recommend that he follow the NEWSTART® diet of whole plant foods. He should eat regular meals that have sufficient calories from whole grains (100 percent whole oats, oat bran, bulgur, barley, brown rice), beans, fruits, vegetables and nuts. When a good variety of these whole plant foods are ingested, important nerve-building nutrients like Omega3 fatty acids, Folic acid & Vitamin B6 will be utilized in the healing process.
Avoid alcohol, saturated fat and trans fat (found mainly in animal products). We are not fond of recommending “super foods”, but flax and walnuts are good sources of Omega 3 fatty acids. He may also want to verify with his doctor on whether Vitamin supplementation may be needed during the initial recovery months.