MS is a complex condition, and although there is no one ‘MS diet’ it is well known that dietary modification can bring about significant symptom improvement for many people with MS.
Some people with MS choose to experiment with different types of diets and nutritional supplements in the hope that they can find something that works well for them. As Dietitians we urge that if you choose to do that, that you do that under the guidance of an Accredited Practising Dietitian as it is essential that you don’t forfeit any key nutrients, overdose on others or even waste money on supplements that you don’t need. We have worked with many people with MS to assist them to design their own unique diet, whilst still meeting all of their nutritional requirements.
We are also up to date on the latest research studies on dietary modification for MS, and would be happy to share with you where the research is heading and what has worked for others.
Let’s have a look at some of the common symptoms of MS and how dietary modification may be used to manage symptoms:
Decreased motor control – A decrease in lean muscle mass is a common side effect that we see in people with MS. To minimise this, it is important that protein and kilojoules are adequate to ensure that muscle mass is optimised. Simultaneously, being overweight can impact co-ordination, so we can also assist with weight loss.
Fatigue – MS can result in fatigue and many treatment medications can make it worse. On top of that, nutritional deficiencies will also exacerbate feelings of tiredness. As Dietitians we would assist you to organise blood tests to assess your levels of key nutritional markers that impact fatigue, and organise supplements for you if necessary.
Bowel problems – Some people may experience some irritable bowel syndrome, whilst others experience constipation. We can teach you to modify your fibre intake to assist with managing your bowels.
Cognitive problems – Omega 3 fatty acids can have a significant impact on depression, memory and brain function. We will assess your omega 3 intake and ensure that you are meeting your requirements of other key brain health nutrients.
Neuralgia – B12 deficiency can exacerbate neuralgia, so we would ensure that you are meeting requirements for this key nutrient.
Vertigo – too much sodium can impact vertigo, so we can assist you to see if a lower sodium diet makes a difference for you. Food intolerances can also sometimes paly a role.
If you have further questions about your diet and MS, please make an appointment for an assessment with one of our Dietitians.