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Yale Researchers Report that Higher Levels of Fatty Acid in Tissues May Improve Immune Regulation– Further Study Needed to Understand Implications for People with MS

January 27, 2021

Researchers at Yale University report that a fatty acid called oleic acid promoted the stability and function of immune cells (T regulatory cells, or Tregs) in laboratory studies. Tregs are capable of turning off destructive immune attacks such as what occur in MS.  The team then found that oleic acid was reduced in people with MS when compared with people without MS, and that exposing Tregs from people with MS to oleic acid in the laboratory restored their ability to suppress inflammation.

Oleic acid is found in cooking oils, meats, cheese, nuts, sunflower seeds, eggs, pasta, milk, olives, avocados, and other foods, however, further study is needed to determine whether consuming more oleic acid would reduce disease activity in people with MS. This study was funded in part by the National MS Society.

Read more about what we do know regarding diet and nutrition for people with MS.

Read more about this study from Yale University

Read the paper in the Journal of Clinical Investigation

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable disease of the central nervous system. Currently there is no cure. Symptoms vary from person to person and may include disabling fatigue, mobility challenges, cognitive changes, and vision issues. An estimated 1 million people live with MS in the United States. Early diagnosis and treatment are critical to minimize disability. Significant progress is being made to achieve a world free of MS.

About the National Multiple Sclerosis Society

The National MS Society, founded in 1946, is the global leader of a growing movement dedicated to creating a world free of MS. The Society funds cutting-edge research for a cure, drives change through advocacy and provides programs and services to help people affected by MS live their best lives. Connect to learn more and get involved:, Facebook, X, formerly known as Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or 1-800-344-4867.


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