My take on Diet & Supplements in MS.
( This advice is to go alongside your medical and disease modifying treatment, not instead of it. It’s not medical advice, but a personal viewpoint, and I am not a dietician. Ensure that any dietary change or supplement is safe for you with your conditions and medications.)
· Diet plays a huge role in health and disease. MS is a condition that involves inflammation, and everything we eat can either provoke more inflammation or help to calm it down and encourage regeneration. A low fat, plant-based whole food diet consisting of wholegrains, vegetables, pulses, nuts seeds and fruit is what is recommended by the World Health Organisation, see https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/healthy-diet and is also the ideal to help stabilise MS and improve health. See http://www.overcomingmultiplesclerosis.org
· In some people, a protein in dairy ( cow,goat,sheep) milk and dairy products can trigger an immune over-reaction, leading to increased auto-immune behaviour. It also contains saturated fat. Completely avoiding milk and dairy products is a good idea. Ensure you get calcium from dark green leafy vegetables. If you become vegan, it’s a good idea to take a B vitamin complex. Ensure you get enough protein by eating beans, nuts, tofu, pulses etc.
· Some, but not all people with MS have food intolerances. If you have a food intolerance, it can cause an immune reaction in the body and thus aggravate MS. Look up ‘Leaky Gut’ theory online. Food intolerance blood tests ( eg York labs food intolerance test) are available privately and can identify immune reactions to certain
foods. Although it’s possible for them to be unreliable, and an ‘exclusion diet’ is recommended to identify intolerances, due to the fluctuations of MS, it can be hard to identify food intolerances using the exclusion method, so you may choose to use the blood testing.
The book ‘The MS Recovery diet’ by Sawyer & Bachrach discusses the role of food
intolerances in MS. There is also a huge array of recipe blogs and resources online to support diets which exclude common intolerances. Eg ‘Deliciously Ella’
Supplements that many people consider to address MS:
· Vitamin D3. minimum 5000 IU daily, unless sunbathing. To check for very low Vitamin D, you can get your vitamin D levels tested for around £30 at http://www.vitamindtest.org.uk/ if your GP can’t run the test. Ideally keep your blood levels at 150nmol/litre. Under the tongue spray is the best-absorbed.
· We still don’t know whether vitamin D deficiency is a cause or a result of inflammation, or which is the best way of getting vitamin D. Strong sunshine on bare skin is ideal, & it may be that in the winter months, a 10 minute sunbed (one that puts out UVB rays) once a month, if your skin is ok, is a better way to absorb the vitamin D & use it in the body. Ensure you have dark green leafy veg to supply calcium in your diet, and to find out more:, including how much vitamin D3 to give your children if you have MS, visit:
Sunlight & Vitamin D | Overcoming MS OMS recommends that people with multiple sclerosis keep their vitamin D level at 150 -225nmol/L or 60-90ng/ml. Those with a vitamin D level below the lower limit should consider a suitable mega-dose (this is a perfectly safe way of boosting a vitamin D level quickly). overcomingms.org or https://mstrust.org.uk/life-ms/diet/vitamin-d
Vitamin D | MS Trust Vitamin D is essential for bone health and immune system regulation and may have a role in multiple sclerosis too. Regular time in the sunshine could provide enough Vitamin D for good health, but you can also get it from your food or take supplements, particularly in the winter months. Low levels of … mstrust.org.uk
· As much high dose omega 3 essential fatty acids as possible; best supplied by drizzling at least 2 dessert spoons a day of cold pressed flax/linseed oil on your food, cold. Don’t cook with it, as this destroys the benefits, and keep the bottle in the fridge. http://www.flaxfarm.co.uk. is one supplier. Omega 3 is also present in pumpkin& chia seeds, oily fish, and dark green leafy veg (tiny amounts)
· B vitamins are only present in animal food, live fermented foods, yeast products ( like marmite, yeast flakes) or fortified foods. If you aren’t eating meat or dairy products, consider either regular fermented products like water kefir, live sauerkraut, live kim chi, or a B complex supplement.
· Pro-biotics There is a strong link between the health of the gut and auto-immune disorders, and lots you can do to help restore the health of your gut. Read up online or get a book on repairing and building up your ‘Gut Health’. Probiotics ( good bacteria) are an important part of this, along with avoiding intolerances, and supporting good bacteria by eating a diet rich in ‘prebiotic’ foods, and other possible supplements such as l-glutamine. Capsules or powder are preferable to milky drinks, available in health stores on online.
· Anti-oxidants help to protect brain cells; eat all the different colours of fruit & veg, especially the dark – black, purple, red. Recent research showed 66% less brain shrinkage with a supplement of 1,200mg of the anti-oxidant lipoic acid daily.
· Co-enzyme Q10 has shown benefit in trials for MS fatigue.