The mainstream "solutions" to multiple sclerosis can be even worse than the disease itself: Of all the dangerous meds MS patients are told to take, not a single one of them can stop or reverse the damage.

And they all come with some horrific side effects.

One recently approved drug that does little more than boost walking speed -- and only in about a third of MS patients -- is actually a bird poison, for crying out loud.

Now, there's finally some real promise on the horizon -- and no... it's not a drug. It's a natural supplement that's very similar to the glucosamine safely taken by millions of arthritis patients every single day.

It's called N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc), and researchers say it can help correct the problems that cause the immune system to start attacking itself in MS patients.

The secret is in the sugars: Cellular proteins react to sugar molecules, and recent studies have shown that those sugars could be triggering the message that causes immune system T-cells to go haywire.

Glucosamine, as the name suggests, is also a form of sugar -- and researchers say the N-acetylglucosamine form is powerful enough to change that message and replace it with a new one: Stop it. Now.

That's the theory. To test it, the researchers bred mice with an MS-like condition that was causing leg weakness to the point where the rodents should have eventually suffered from paralysis.

When they were given N-acetylglucosamine, however, the march to paralysis wasn't just stopped... it was reversed.

The researchers say human trials are needed to figure out if it really can deliver on the elusive promise of an MS cure or even relief, as well as key issues like the most effective dose.

But if you don't want to wait, I can certainly understand -- and you don't have to, either: N-acetylglucosamine is inexpensive and already widely available. Just be sure to work with an experienced naturopathic physician who can help monitor your progress.

The benefits may not end with MS. In fact, N-acetylglucosamine could open the doorway to new treatments for a host of autoimmune disorders.

In one study, for example, eight of 12 kids suffering from inflammatory bowel disease saw significant improvements -- and no serious side effects -- after two years of N-acetylglucosamine supplements.

These were kids who had a treatment-resistant version of the disease -- so once again, a simple natural supplement managed to pull off what a pharmacy full of meds could not.