Whether it is possible to influence multiple sclerosis through diet and dietary supplements is a controversial topic. There is a lot of information available in books, magazines and on the web, but much of it is contradictory. Opinions range from denying any evidence of benefit of diet on MS through to suggestions that MS can effectively be cured by a particular diet.

For many people with MS, managing what they eat offers the possibility of a sense of control in dealing with their condition. Poor diet and nutrition can worsen existing symptoms such as fatigue and weakness. Awareness of diet also offers the opportunity to promote general health and wellbeing, which may be even more important following a diagnosis of MS.

Making changes to your diet to manage MS is best approached on a try it and see basis. Having considered cost, convenience and, in the case of exclusion diets, how to maintain the correct nutritional balance, an individual could try adding or removing something from their diet and monitoring whether it has any effect on their own MS.

Research into diet and multiple sclerosis has been limited. However, there has been research into a healthy diet for other conditions, which found that a diet that was low in fat, with lots of fruit and vegetables reduced someone's risk of developing heart disease, strokes and certain cancers. Consequently this forms the basis for the Government's advice for a healthy balanced diet to provide all the nutrients required to be as active and healthy as possible. This includes foods from the major food groups of fruit and vegetables, carbohydrates, fat, protein and dairy products.

More recently, research into vitamin D suggests that a deficiency in this may have a role in the onset of MS.

The following are examples of sites suggesting dietary approaches to MS, usually as part of a wider programme of lifestyle changes:

Last updated: 24 November 2016
This page will be reviewed within three years