Multiple Sclerosis and Diet

Posted: January 18, 2012 by dee in diet, MS, multiple sclerosis

What could be more important to the human body than what you put into it? What do you eat? What do you drink? As a person with MS, what should you eat? What should you drink? The subject of MS and diet is all too infrequently discussed between a doctor and a MS patient. Sometimes diet might be get a very small amount of attention, sometimes none at all. Speaking from experience, sometimes doctors don’t seem to see the importance of diet at all.

Let’s say you owned a brand new Ferrari. Would you put low-grade gasoline into your Ferrari? If you did so, how would you expect such a high performance vehicle to perform? Probably not as well as it could perform, if given the appropriate fuel.

When you eat low quality food (or the wrong kind of food), you can expect that your own body (your own personal Ferrari) will not perform as well as it should. This is true regardless of your current health; whether you have MS or not. If you have Multiple Sclerosis, it’s particularly important that you are always aware of what you are about to consume. Could this food (or beverage) cause more inflammation in your body? Could what you are consuming tax your liver  (some MS medicications are thought to cause liver problems)?

So what to eat? From the research we have done, there are a few options, and it will be up to you to decide what works best for you. Some of the options might be a bit overwhelming, depending on your current diet. Bear in mind, that when we are talking about “diet”, we are not talking about going on a diet. But rather we are talking about changing/modifying your day to day eating/drinking habits. And most likely this won’t be an “all at once” kind of change, but rather something you adjust as you go.

If your current diet is drastically different from what we are about to discuss, then take it slow; slowly introduce new things into your diet over time. If there are aspects to these diets that give you anxiety, then work on the parts that you are more comfortable with.

So enough with the intro, here’s some diets we have found that are believed to help people with MS:

  • The Swank Diet – A diet created by Dr. Roy L. Swank in the 1940’s. This low fat diet promotes consumption of grains, fruits and vegetables, and limits the intake of red and other fatty meats.
  • The McDougall Diet – Dr. John McDougall is a physician and nutrition expert, and his diet and Foundation focus on a vegetarian style of eating.
  • MS Best Bet Diet – this treatment assumes that dietary factors are the cause of MS and onset and progression. The diet focuses on healing leaky gut, and removing foods from the diet that contain proteins which mimic “self-proteins” in the central nervous system (CNS).
  • Vegan Diet – this was the diet of choice for my wife Moe. We were lucky in that both of us were already vegan before Moe was diagnosed with MS. We also looked at the previous three diets listed, and integrated various aspects of those diets (especially minimizing oils).

We hope that one or all of these diets might influence your own diet. While some aspects of living with MS are out of your control, its important to try to stay positive. One way to stay positive is to take your diet into your own hands, and see how changes in diet effect your day to day health.


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