Reports of improved neurologic disability, fatigue, and depression along with a “heightened quality of life” were just a few of the positive impacts of following a ketogenic diet (KD).
So, I was particularly interested in a new study published in Clinical Nutrition that sought to better understand the tolerability and clinical efficacy of this dietary approach – in other words, while many patient-reported and clinical benefits are noted, what is the sustainability of these diets outside of a clinical trial? What factors would increase the likelihood that the diet would be continued and to what degree?
The study enrolled 64 subjects with diagnosed RRMS and all followed the same diet that included restriction of net carbohydrates to <20 g/day with a subsequent increase healthy fat intake; there was no caloric restriction.
The results were indeed promising: of the ~89% of original enrollees who completed the six-month study, many patients perceived an improvement in MS symptoms such as:
Three months following the study conclusion, those patients who cited weight loss and concurrent reduction in body-mass index (BMI) were most likely to have continued the KD program; even those participants who chose to follow a similar but less restrictive diet subsequently shifted their dietary patterns to include more protein, fewer carbohydrates, and less sugar. Those individuals who ceased the diet entirely reported worse concentration (30%), sleep problems (23%), and ongoing MS symptoms.
More about dietary influences.
Dr. Terry Wahls recently shared the results of a small trial in MS patients utilizing intermittent fasting. This studyshowed a marked increase in both brain volume measurement and improved cerebral blood flow as measured using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
One of our earlier blogs also looked at the effects of dietary restriction and intermittent fasting and presented evidence from 2021 that noted significant benefits relevant to a healthier gut microbiome and commensurate reduced inflammation – which we know is not only associated with MS, but all autoimmune diseases as well.
The major takeaway: dietary guidance is important for EVERYONE and, as we’ve continually emphasized, it should be the first step of the healing journey! Even if you do not have MS or any other identified disorder, what we eat (or don’t eat) can truly play a huge role in our present and future wellbeing.
We encourage you to please take some time to read and learn more about the impact of dietary choices on our brain and general health:
What does gut health have to do with MS?
Diet and managing MS.
Does all disease begin in the gut?
How we eat now and our future brain health.
And of course, feel free to reach out to our offices if we can answer any questions or schedule a visit. We’re here to help!
In hope and healing,
Dr. Suzanne Gazda
Gazda, S. A low carb, high fat diet may improve symptoms in MS patients. suzannegazdamd.com. (May 2022). https://www.suzannegazdamd.com/blog---ms-in-the-news/a-low-carb-high-fat-diet-may-improve-symptoms-in-ms-patients
Wetmore, E. et al. Ketogenic diet in relapsing multiple sclerosis: Patient perceptions, post-trial diet adherence & outcomes. Clinical Nutrition. (August 2023). https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0261561423002145
Wahls, T. The Impact On Brain Volume And Biomarkers In The Setting Of MS Using Intermittent Fasting. terrywahls.com. (June 2023). https://terrywahls.com/the-impact-on-brain-volume-and-biomarkers-in-the-setting-of-ms-using-intermittent-fasting/
Gazda, S. Intermittent fasting and dietary restriction for MS. suzannegazdamd.com. (March 2021). https://www.suzannegazdamd.com/blog---ms-in-the-news/intermittent-fasting-and-dietary-restriction-for-ms