Maintenance of general good health is very important for people with any chronic disorder: a well-balanced and planned diet will help achieve this goal. Although there's no special “MS diet,” what and how you eat can make a difference in your energy level, bladder and bowel function, and overall health. MS specialists recommend that people with MS adhere to the same low-fat, high-fiber diet recommendations of the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society for the general population. The USDA's MyPlate website can help you start on the path to healthy nutrition. Learn more about the importance of nutrition in MS.
Challenges with special diets
Different diets have been proposed as treatments, or even cures, for the signs and symptoms of MS. Most of the diets touted as helping people with MS have not been subjected to rigorous, controlled studies, and the few that have been evaluated have produced mixed results.
Most claims made for dietary treatments are based on personal accounts, and reported benefits may be changes that could have happened without any treatment. Read more in the Eating Habits
article from Momentum magazine and below:
- There is some evidence that a diet low in saturated fats and supplemented by Omega-3 (from fatty fishes, cod-liver oil, or flaxseed oil) and Omega-6 (fatty acids from sunflower or safflower seed oil and possibly evening primrose oil) may have some benefit for people with MS.
- A recent research review paper by Pavan Bhargava, MD, provides information and current evidence for each of the most popular diets.
Some special diets may be harmful because they include potentially toxic amounts of certain vitamins, or exclude important nutrients. That's why it's important to consult with your healthcare professional before starting any diet that includes nutritional supplements or vitamins.
Biotin is considered a form of vitamin B, and is a component of enzymes in the body that help break down certain substances in the body. Biotin, also known as vitamin H, is usually obtained from food.
In spring of 2015, an abstract was published of preliminary results
from a clinical trial in France involving 154 people with primary-progressive MS or secondary-progressive MS. They were given high-dose biotin (MD1003) or inactive placebo for 48 weeks. The results suggested that 12.6% of those given MD1003 showed improvement in disability (using either the EDSS scale that measures disability progression, or improvement in a timed walk), versus none of those on placebo, and there were no serious safety issues reported.
More research is needed to determine who might benefit from this approach. MedDay Pharma, which sponsored the trial, stated that another trial is underway.
: In November 2017, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a Safety Communication
to let the public and healthcare providers know that biotin can significantly interfere with certain lab tests, causing falsely high or falsely low test results that may go undetected. They issued a second Safety Communication
in November 2019 to remind the public and healthcare providers about biotin interference with lab tests. Work with your healthcare provider and laboratory to help prevent adverse events. If you suspect or experience a problem with a laboratory test while taking biotin, the FDA encourages you to report the problem through the MedWatch Voluntary Reporting Form