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Diet & Nutrition

Although there's no special “MS diet,” what and how you eat can make a difference in your energy level, bladder and bowel function, and overall health.

Shelly
Diagnosed in 2006
Publication

Diet and MS Research Review Paper

With increasing interest in the possible role of diet in MS, this research review looks at current evidence that diet may be beneficial in MS.

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Publication

Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs in MS

Practical guide to diet supplements for people with MS. Outlines what is and is not known, with references for further study.

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Multiple Sclerosis: A Self-Care Guide To Wellness

The book covers a broad spectrum of topics related to MS and its effects, offering practical tips on self-care designed to promote maximum independence, well-being and productivity.

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Maintenance of overall good health is important for anyone with a chronic condition—a well-balanced and planned diet will help achieve this goal. MS specialists recommend that people with MS adhere to the same low-fat, high-fiber diet recommendations of the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society for the general population.
In this article

Nutrition and MS

Learn more about nutritional guidelines for people living with MS.

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Challenges with special diets

Different diets have been proposed as treatments, or even cures, for the signs and symptoms of MS. Most of the diets touted as helping people with MS have not been subjected to rigorous, controlled studies, and the few that have been evaluated have produced mixed results.

Most claims made for dietary treatments are based on personal accounts, and reported benefits may be changes that could have happened without any treatment.
  • Read more in Is there an MS diet? (.pdf article) from Momentum magazine.
  • There is some evidence that a diet low in saturated fats and supplemented by Omega-3 (from fatty fishes, cod-liver oil or flaxseed oil) and Omega-6 (fatty acids from sunflower or safflower seed oil and possibly evening primrose oil) may have some benefit for people with MS.
  • A recent research review paper (.pdf) by Pavan Bhargava, MD, provides information and current evidence for each of the most popular diets.
Some special diets may be harmful because they include potentially toxic amounts of certain vitamins, or exclude important nutrients. That's why it's important to consult with your healthcare professional before starting any diet that includes nutritional supplements or vitamins.

Vitamin D

It is well known that vitamin D works to promote calcium absorption for strong bones. However, recent research also suggests that vitamin D may have important effects on the immune system and may help regulate cell growth and differentiation. A clinical trial is underway to determine what role vitamin D supplementation might play in reducing MS disease activity.

Vitamin D and MS

Research into the role Vitamin D plays in MS is growing.

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Resources

Find a dietician / nutritionist

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics – Provides an online search tool to locate registered dietician nutritionists (RDNs). Offers many consumer-geared resources.

Find food assistance

Feeding America – Nationwide network of food banks. Also offers information & links to help consumers determine their eligibility for federal food assistance such as SNAP and the National School Lunch Program.

Meals on Wheels America – Online search tool to locate home-delivered meal programs throughout the U.S.

 

 

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