The Evidence for Dietary Interventions and Nutritional Supplements as Treatment Options in Multiple Sclerosis: a Review

  • Leah J. MischeEmail author
  • Ellen M. Mowry
Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders (J Graves, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders


Purpose of review

This review aims to critically evaluate published studies examining diets and nutritional supplements (excepting vitamin D) for the impact on prevention and prognosis of multiple sclerosis (MS).

Recent findings

There is a negative relationship between the Mediterranean diet and vascular disease, and vascular co-morbidities are associated with a worse MS prognosis. Low-fat, fish-based diets, sodium-restricted diets, calorie restriction, the paleo diet, and gluten-free diets have been examined, mostly in observational studies; results are inconclusive. With regard to nutritional supplements, pilot data show a possible benefit of biotin with respect to disability worsening in people with progressive MS (PMS). The best designed randomized controlled trials (RCTs) for PUFA supplementation have not shown significant impact, but several weaker RCTs have. Many other nutritional supplements have been tested, including several anti-oxidants. While some early studies show positive results, no result has been definitive.


Unfortunately, there is no strong evidence for a direct benefit of any given dietary intervention on MS risk or prognosis. However, due to its relationship with vascular co-morbidities, the Mediterranean diet has the strongest rationale for employment in PwMS. Higher-quality clinical trials are needed to ascertain the possible benefits of nutritional supplements.


Multiple sclerosis Dietary interventions Nutritional supplements 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Leah J. Mische declares no conflict of interest.

Ellen M. Mowry reports a grant from and serving as site PI on projects sponsored by Biogen, grants from Genzyme, non-financial support from Teva, serving as site PI on a trial sponsored by Sun Pharma, personal fees from UpToDate, outside the submitted work.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

All reported studies/experiments with human or animal subjects performed by the authors have been previously published and complied with all applicable ethical standards (including the Helsinki declaration and its amendments, institutional/national research committee standards, and international/national/institutional guidelines).

References and Recommended Reading

Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Johns Hopkins School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Department of NeurologyJohns Hopkins School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA

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