THE IMPORTANCE OF DIET AND NUTRITION
People with multiple sclerosis are advised to maintain a healthy diet, as the diet can interfere with their energy level, the health of the bladder and intestines and possibly change the immune system to a more inflammatory state. THE IMPORTANCE OF DIET AND NUTRITION.
Although several different diets are suggested in the best way for people with multiple sclerosis, there is no solid evidence to support any diet over another, leaving the matter to the choice of one individual.
Several MS experts recommend that their patients follow the same general dietary guidelines recommended for the general public by the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society: rich in healthy foods and supplemented with regular exercise.
The National MS Society also offers a list of special diets of possible interest to patients.
Pavan Bhargava, MD, published a review article on a Society page, “Diet and Multiple Sclerosis”, in which he identified the most important dietary factors linked to multiple sclerosis: low levels of vitamin D, high salt intake and changes intestinal bacteria (the intestinal microbiota).
He also identified possible mechanisms by which diet can affect MS:
Directly in the immune system, metabolism has been shown to have a role in the functioning of various cells in the immune system. Some immune cells also have receptors that respond to these foods like vitamin D and fatty acids, with research suggesting that certain fats are linked to inflammation and polyunsaturated fatty acids to decrease inflammation.
Indirectly, through intestinal bacteria that metabolize certain foods to short-chain fatty acids, which act positively on the cells of the immune system and improve the regulatory function of T cells.
Diet also works to colonize the intestine or change the bacterial mix there, which can move the immune system away from or toward an inflammatory state.
It can affect the components of the nervous system, providing nutrients and other factors that can protect neurons and glial cells, important brain support cells (glial cells include oligodendrocytes, which produce myelin). Research is underway on this possible effect.
Different diets are recommended by different MS specialists, but there is insufficient evidence to recommend any specific one. THE IMPORTANCE OF DIET AND NUTRITION.
But almost all have points in common, such as avoiding highly processed foods, foods with a high glycemic index and foods high in saturated fat, and recommending a reduction in the consumption of red meat and fat and an increase in the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.