By: Dr. Deneb Bates
There are a number of diets marketed for people with MS with a wide-range of recommendations: low-fat, no grains, low animal proteins, gluten or dairy free… Not only is diet a difficult thing to objectively study, but the available data of these approaches has been inconsistent. The truth is that these recommendations are not a successful one-size-fits-all approach for people with MS. While a particular diet may be helpful to some patients, they don’t apply to everyone.
Research has shown that people with MS who have cardiovascular risk factors such as diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure, show earlier disability than those with better cardiovascular health profiles. A heart healthy diet and lifestyle (including quitting smoking) that prevents and treats these risk factors is an important approach for people with Multiple Sclerosis.
People with MS may benefit from additional testing to evaluate for celiac disease or other food intolerances, malabsorption of nutrients, or abnormal intestinal growth of bacteria. Any of these can contribute to the problematic symptoms an MS patient may experience, and may need to be addressed with medications, supplements, or treated with a specialized dietary approach.