MS and Diet – Multiple Sclerosis and the Paleo Diet

MS and the Paleo Diet
MS and the Paleo Diet

While doing some research on the internet for another multiple sclerosis blog post I came across a very interesting article about MS and diet.  The article explained that Jack Osbourne was using the Paleo diet as a way of treating his multiple sclerosis.  You can read more here http://www.examiner.com/article/jack-osbourne-talks-with-dr-oz-about-his-multiple-sclerosis-and-paleo-diet.

As long time readers of this blog know we are very interested in natural treatments for multiple sclerosis (you can read a previous blog on the subject here http://patienttalk.org/?p=1152) so we thought we would investigate the Paleo diet further.

So what is the Paleo diet?

Well its other name “the caveman diet” which rather gives the game away.  The Paleo diet (or Palaeolithic diet) is based upon the idea that the most suitable and healthy diet for a human is the one eaten by our ancestors before the  dawn of the agricultural age.  The idea being that one should try and eat a diet which can either be hunted (meat or fish) or gathered (mushrooms, fruits and berries etc.).  Obviously such a diet will be low on carbohydrates.  Followers of the diet typically drink water and also prefer their meat to be additive free.  In practice people following the Paleo diet eat meat and fish but try to avoid grains and pulses.

Okay all fine so far but how does this help people with multiple sclerosis?  According to its fans it can help with the symptoms of MS and other autoimmune conditions.

The rationale is that the changes in human diet over the last, say, 10,000 years have led to the rise of various different conditions in particular those associated with digestion such as celiac or IBS.  Further the view is taken that an improved diet can assist with diseases which were rare (or perceived as being rare) before we turned to agriculture for our food.  And this includes multiple sclerosis.

A quick trawl around the internet will give you plenty of examples of people who feel that they have improved since taking up the diet.  And this is where you come in.  We are really interest in your experiences with the Paleo diet for multiple sclerosis. Good or bad!

It would be really useful if you could share your story with other readers.  In particular it would be great if you could focus on the following questions.

a)      When were you diagnosed with multiple sclerosis?

b)      How long have you been using diet as part of your treatment for MS?  What sort of diet do you use?

c)       Do you use the Paleo diet?

d)      Could you describe a “typical” day’s menu?

e)      How successful has the diet been?

f)       How difficult or otherwise is it to keep to the diet?

Please can you use the comments box below to add your answers?  Feel free to add any links or any information you think will be of interest to other readers.

Many thanks in advance.

40 comments
Roxannestanbridge
Roxannestanbridge

I have started this diet after being recommended it by someone with Fibromyalgia....only been one week........i have to say it's quite easy to manage. Watch this space I guess....

LemonAid
LemonAid

Yes Roxanne, once you make you mind up to do it, it's not hard. The key is look for variety. You will see results over time.

MarilynRoberts
MarilynRoberts

I was diag'd 20 years ago.  I had flares AND attacks until 5 years ago.  That's when I went vegetarian.  The AMA is a huge supporter of the meat and dairy industry, so they will never professionally recommend going vegetarian.  But it worked for me, and I can't see how it wouldn't work for you.  I do NOT eat any of the animal antibiotics injected into every single farm animal, nor the growth steroids also injected into every farm animal!


Just my observation!


~Marilyn

eddie1970
eddie1970

finally diagnosed july 2007 after a few years of not knowing what was going on !!!!

few months later decided to completely change diet and lifestyle. Not exactly paleo, but similar in many ways, amongst other lifestyle modifications.

In retro, have I not done this change and strictly adhered to this new lifestyle,more than a priest follows his bible, i do not wish to even start  imagining where I could have ended up..... I was already on that downhill path before I started !!!

how successful has it been ??? well if big and evil pharma can patent the paleo and life style, and form a new proto type injection, they would catapult their margins and profits exponentially !!!!

and YES its been very difficult to start on that path, but once u are on it, u will not go back !!!

Julia45
Julia45

I was diagnosed the end of Jan 2012 after goin of my legs an been rushed in hospital the diet I do is vegetarian an don't eat as much choc now which as helped me with my MS

MarilynRoberts
MarilynRoberts

I very purposely eat vegan.  MY ms didn't shut up until I changed my diet.  I eat no growth steroids nor animal antibiotics.  Worked for me!  Besides its a diet that won't add to your weight.  Just be careful of junk food and you'll be just fine.

MarilynRoberts
MarilynRoberts

Yes be EXCRUTIATINGLY careful about gluten free.  If you are not celiac, don't think you need to be gluten free.  Do the right thing, read the labels and ingredients!  Gluten free usually means the manufacturer added something else to compensate!  The grass isn't always greener...

srboe1959
srboe1959

@MarilynRoberts I am not celiac, nor is my son, but neither of us can tolerate gluten. We have a sensitivity to the protein that gives us horrible gastrointestinal symptoms -- gas, cramping and diarrhea. Neither of will cheat -- the same goes for dairy products. Sensitivities can be just as bad and can cause so much irritation and inflammation that you can have systemic issues that can be very harmful. A blood test won't reveal this issue -- it's only by eliminating the gluten and dairy from the diet and then reintroducing the offensive foods that you can really identify which foods are the culprits that were making you sick.

RosiLaraLara
RosiLaraLara

SOY MEXICANA DE 48 AÑOS,LLEVO 12 AÑOS DIAGNOSTICADA DE EMRR,,POR RUTINA LLEVE TRATAMIENTO DE INTERFERON BETA POR UN AÑO,PERO LOS CORTICOIDES NO ME CAYERON BIEN,Y POR NECESIDAD ACUDI A TOMAT TEREPIA DE ACUPUNTURA EN DONDE AHI SIGO PERO ESO SI, CUNADO TENGO MIS BROTES, DEJO DE COMER TOXINAS (NADA Q DE VENGA O TENGA OJO Y PATAS) POR UNOS 15 DIAS, DE AHI EN FUERA COMO NORMAL, CARNE RES,CERDO, PESCADO, POLLO Y PESCADO,,MUCHAS VERDURA SIEMPRE Y ESOSI,,POCO DULCE, ME DA DOLOR DE CABEZA,,,Y SI SI ME CUESTA TRABAJOLLEVAR LA DIETA PORQ ME PONE MUY MUY NERVIOSA Y DE MALAS,,ME HACE FALTA LA TOXINA ANIMAL,,,


LemonAid
LemonAid

I was diagnosed in 1999. It has since gone in to Secondary Progressive MS and I have been bedridden for five years. I came acrossed the book, Mitocondria (sp) by Dr. Terry Wahls, who is a brain injury Doctor. Because of her success with the Paleo diet, I began the diet a little over a year ago. I went from a chocoholic, junk food junkie to no sugar, no dairy, no grains and basically for me fish, chicken and turkey, overnight. I stuck to it religiously even thru the holidays. Not only have I lost 37 lbs. bedridden but I was diagnosed with diabetes right when I started and my sugar level is down to normal. It is a much much healthier way to eat anyway. I wish I had done this when I was raising my four kids. I think of all the

processed crap they ate. . My day starts off with a bowl of a variety of greens which I chose to eat dry, a boiled egg, a container of various fresh organic fruits, water and/or tea. For lunch I have two rice cakes with all natural peanut butter and a container of fresh organic veggies of different colors . For dinner my husband either makes us chicken, fish or tofu dishes, many times with quinoa which is a wonderful substitute for rice, potatoes, noodles. There are a lot of delicious recipes out there for the Paleo and I am an extremely picky eater. Nothing crosses these lips if I don't like it. People always tell me how wonderful I look, I have progressed hardly at all in the last year and I feel good.

LemonAid
LemonAid

For my ice water that I drink all day, my husband squeezes a half of a fresh lemon in it, a few cucumber slices and a few fresh leaves of mint and it not only taste so good and refreshing, each of those have good qualities in them for you.

LemonAid
LemonAid

For snacks I munch on nuts, which are real good for you, pickles (I LOVE only Clauson), occasionally I will some Gallo Salami, mmm.

LemonAid
LemonAid

Be careful when it says "gluten free." Many of them are not but it is advised to not eat much gluten free foods either. It's easy enough to do.

DebbieBond
DebbieBond

@LemonAid Dr.Wahl has MS not injury .she went from reclining wheelchair to running marathons by changing her diet.

LemonAid
LemonAid

Yes, I read her fabulous book. I'm sorry, I thought I said the she was a brain injury Doctor who got MS and ended up just like me in the tilt back position. Sorry for the confusion, Debbie.

DarekBaksik
DarekBaksik

@LemonAid Who do I search for on FACEBOOK? I will be Darek Baksik or darek.baksikcomcast.net

LemonAid
LemonAid

Hi Darek,

I laid out my exact diet in the first big paragraph. The day I started the Paleo Diet, September 19, 2012, I stopped cold turkey, everything else. They say to just have small amounts of the bad stuff, but that's not worth it to me. For me, it's either all or none. I choose none because I have no willpower. :) I would love to be your Paleo/MS pal. You can friend me on Facebook, if you want - June Ko-Dial or you are welcome to email me at ko-dial@sbcglobal.net

My MS is not great but I haven't progressed hardly at all in the last year and that is great for me since mine is Secondary Progressive. When did you get diagnosed? I wish someone had told me about the Paleo Diet years ago. I might not be bedridden. But it is what it is. I will look forward to hearing from you. June

LemonAid
LemonAid

Search June Ko-Dial also my email is ko-dial@sbcglobal.net

DarekBaksik
DarekBaksik

@LemonAid I hope the FACEBOOK messaging works for us to communicate. I have (RR MS) I have been feeling week in the legs and my balance has/is off. 

SaraReeceAbraham
SaraReeceAbraham

@DarekBaksik @LemonAid 

I just recently read this post stream and wanted to suggest something else.  My husband has MS and on copaxone.  He wants OFF the meds.  ALL meds.  We have switched our diet to less processed, more whole foods and it's better. 

But we also are using ASEA--his fatigue is pretty much gone and he sleeps at night now (really good sleep).  ASEA helps your body heal itself.

If you would like more info on it, on Facebook, look up The Abraham Family fan page and you can either like the page or message me there.  

Have a Blessed Day!

DarekBaksik
DarekBaksik

@LemonAid I would love to start your diet right now. How is your MS? I would love to follow you. Can you tell me most of your diet and how you take it in. It might be simple but, not simple enough for me. I want to follow if you please. 


Roxannestanbridge
Roxannestanbridge

Very true - it's nicknamed the cave girl diet coz only natural food that was around in those times is part of diet

msfighter
msfighter

Hi there i am a ms patient since 07 and have always on my food intake watched what i was eating to avoid any setbacks that could affect my body negatively overal i focus hard on a high vegtable nutrient rich diet while pursuing a regular diet with recomended portions to maintain myself this allows me to maintain or increase overall health .I actually avoid foods my body interacts negatively wth as some reactions may create stress which could contribute to a possible future exasterbation bottom line i monitor intake to promote overall general health and in my case i maintain myself and slowed down attacks ,new symptoms and strengthened certain aspects while reducing stress as much as i can.This is my harmony diet approach

Luis Soto
Luis Soto

You can see more information en The Walhs Foundation, about this importante topic. I don't have The disease but I'm a primal doc who follow Dr. Terry Wahls approach of dieting forma MS. She has a lot to tell you guys

LemonAid
LemonAid

I am bedridden thanks to MS. I have been faithfully on the Paleo diet for a little over a year. I was diagnosed with borderline diabetes. Since I've begun the Paleo Diet, I have lost 37 pounds, bedridden and my sugar level has dropped to normal. I always get told how wonderful I look. It is worth eating healthy! I wish I had done this with my kids.

RosiLaraLara
RosiLaraLara

BUENO A MI DESPUES DE UN AÑO C/ INTERFERON BETA MELOTUVIERON Q SUSPENDER Y DE AHI EMPEZE A TOMAR TERAPIADE ACUPUNTURA COMO TAL LA DRA. ME ORDENO NO COMER TOXINAS,,O SEA NADA Q TUVIERA O VINIERA DE ALGO CON OJOS O PATAS,,,SOLO ME QUEDABAN HOJAS Y PASTO,POR LA GRAVEDAD LO HICE ME COSTO MUCHISISISISIMO,ME SENTIA FATAL,Y CON UN GENIO DE LOS MIL DEMONIOS,HASTA DESPUES DE 6 MESES TUVE Q HABLAR CON LA DRA. Q ENTENDIA LO DELCONSUMODE TOXINAS,PERO Q YO ESTABA MUY MUY ALTERADA, Q ME DIERA CHANCE DE COMER ALGO DE CARNE,,ACEPTO Y COMO MAGIA LOS ACHAQUES SE FUERON,,CLARO LOS DE EM AUN SIGUEN ,,PERO SI ES UNA MUESTRA DE Q CIERTOS TIPOS DE SANGRE, NOS MANEJAMOS CON CIERTA CANTIDAD DE TOXINAS(PROTEINAS),,AUN HOY DIA COMO CARNE 2 VECES POR SEMANA


MarilynRoberts
MarilynRoberts

Personally my flares stopped when I changed to a vegan diet.  I eat no more growth steroids nor animal antibiotics.  Worked for me!!

srboe1959
srboe1959

Yes, I have significantly changed my diet since being diagnosed in 1998. It actually was changed even before that, when I was suffering from migraines. The first culprit I found to be a problem was dairy. Then gluten. I was having a number of digestive issues that were not resolved by dropping dairy. Eliminating dairy helped with migraines, but they persisted. WHen I was diagnosed with MS the migraines got worse. After going through a cleanse diet under the guidance of a naturopathic doc, I learned I had an issue with a number of foods. I have always known that food which were highly processed made me feel ill, as did farmed fish and meats from cattle or chickens which were fed antibiotics. I am allergic to six different antibiotics. Once I understood that many foods didn't agree with me I eliminated them, stopped eating farmed fish, put as many organic products into my shopping cart as I could afford, at the nuts I am not allergic to and switched to more fruits and veggies. About the only grains I can safely manage are rice and quinoa. I don't eat breads at all. I use agave and honey for sweeteners, almond milk for milk, a variety of teas, I do still drink coffee -- one cup per day. I do still eat chocolate -- hooray! In the beginning the diet was difficult to manage. BUt when my son was found to be both casein, lactose and gluten intolerant as well, we had no choice but to learn how to function with the change. He has become quite the baker and uses gluten-free flours to bake bread and cookes and pizza. I cannot do tomato sauces and other related veggies in small quantiies (pepers, eggplant, potatoes) I sub things like sweet potatoes and yams and squashes which are healthier for  you anyway. Typical day menu: protein shake in the morning or nut bars such as those made by Kind (I refuse to eat anything made with Palm Oil because of the destruction of the forests in Indonesia where the Orangutans habitat is being destroyed); lunch is typically a salad with greens, some fruit and either chicken or fish. Dinner can also be a salad or might be a chicken dish that's  a sausage with stir-fried veggies, rice or a rice or quinoa pasta. Smoked salmon is great, roast chicken, pork chop, organic beef. sushi. The variety of vegetables is pretty astonishing -- and the nutritional value is much undervalued n our western society. Asian cuisine has been my savior. I do not do soy because it has wheat in it. Travel is difficult. I pack what I need. The Kind bars are easy to take along. Traveling in Spain and Italy was particularly difficult for me because of their love of bread, wheat products and tomato sauces and cheeses. Also, shellfish to which I am allergic. If not for my food allergies, this would not be so difficult. Traveling in Britain was much easier. They are more attuned to the gluten- and dairy-free diet. The French have an amazing menu, but again, it can be heavy on the dairy and gluten. Depending on the time of year, you can travel Portugal and eat only fish and veggies for every meal!  Has the diet helped me? I take no MS meds. I stopped three years ago because the side effects were making me so ill. Between my diet and supplementation, lowering stress, yes, I am doing very well.

tmc135
tmc135

@srboe1959 I have been doing about the same diet as you since March.  I do not do any pork or beef though.   It does seem to work for me! 

srboe1959
srboe1959

@JanisDevinneySmithI was very sick eating other foods -- diarrhea, migraines, eczema, etc. It was worth making the switch. Frustrating in the beginning, but well worth the effort. I couldn't continue going on as sick as I was NOT making the effort.

LemonAid
LemonAid

It does seem overwhelming Janis but it really isn't. And what you spend on organic veggies you will go less to the doctor. But you have to want to do it for YOU. Otherwise it will be hard. Hey if I can do it anyone can do it. You can always friend me on Facebook and I can support you thru it, if you like. June Ko-Dial

JanisDevinneySmith
JanisDevinneySmith

This seems a miserable way to try to eat. I was diagnosed in 1999. I am on disablility and it doesn't seem cost effeficiant  and it just exhausts me reading your blog.

Risso
Risso

June could I link to you on FB please? Ros Hatt

lml
lml

a)      When were you diagnosed with multiple sclerosis? I was diagnosed June 2012

b)      How long have you been using diet as part of your treatment for MS?  What sort of diet do you use? November 2012 I started to change my diet.  First I removed gluten due to it's inflammatory qualities.  In January 2013 I started to remove dairy.  I LOVE cheese so I do eat it occasionally but I try to limit it to goat cheese and parmesan as they are not as bad (lactose wise).  These changes made a huge impact on the fatigue I was feeling from MS and my MS medication (Rebif).

c)       Do you use the Paleo diet? I started the paleo diet only a week ago as a 30 day challenge.  My husband and I thought about a cleanse but decided to try eating totally clean - caveman style.  Only a week in and I feel my energy levels are good, any bloating has gone down, so far so good!

d)      Could you describe a “typical” day’s menu? For breakfast I eat egg muffins (basically egg, peppers, tiny bit of bacon).  For snacks I have nuts, apples, bananas, chocolate zucchini bread (yes it's paleo).  For lunches I have homemade soup and salads.  For dinner I have protein (usually chicken or fish, beef once a week and shrimp once a week) with lots of veggies. 

e)      How successful has the diet been? So far so good.  Feeling good.  I'm very active so I was worried that eating such a low amount of carbs and sugar might affect me but it didn't at all.  You can eat sweet potatoes and bananas on the paleo diet so those starches help give me energy.  Even when I was just gluten and dairy free I felt better so this is just even more intense.

f)       How difficult or otherwise is it to keep to the diet? I can honestly say, it's not that hard as long as you plan ahead.  I don't think I will keep this diet up exactly as it requires after my 30 day challenge but I will certainly keep doing as much as I can.  I would like to be able to have a glass of wine once in a while or a white potato or beans (all of which I can't have right now).  However, keeping sugar out is fantastic! and I will continue to keep grains and usually dairy out too. 

I write a blog about my journey with MS and the things I'm learning as I go including what to eat and how to exercise: www.lisavsms.wordpress.com  

bju
bju

The article says, ". . . try to avoid grains and pulses." What the heck are pulses?

RossAnderson
RossAnderson

@bju pulses are things like lentils, beans, peas, chickpeas etc.