Background: Increasing evidence suggests that lifestyle factors such as dietary patterns and exercise impact the risk and course of multiple sclerosis (MS). In 2014, the National MS Society established the Wellness Research Working Group whose mission is to provide scientific evidence supporting the selection of lifestyle approaches (nutrition, exercise, psychosocial practices) for promoting wellness and better managing disease in people with MS. Since the publication of an initial report, scientific evidence assessing various dietary practices in the pathophysiology and disease modification has grown.
Objectives: 1. Introduce the current goals of the NMSS Nutrition Wellness Subgroup to the academic community. 2. Provide a table of relevant dietary intervention studies in MS with expert-based review of quality and utility. 3. Gather feedback regarding additional nutrition-related needs of the MS patient and clinician communities for future work by the Nutrition Subgroup.
Methods: The Nutrition Wellness Subgroup reviewed the current literature of dietary intervention studies in MS (through 2020), summarized in tables each trial in practical and easy to understand terms, summarized the current status and gaps in the literature, and created general guidance for how to put the information into daily practice.
Results: We highlight the very limited evidence for or against specific dietary approaches to treat MS based on the dietary intervention studies reviewed. These tables along with interpretation and guidance will be presented as printed materials (poster and flier) and posted online (National MS Society website) for easy access by healthcare professionals and the general public.
Conclusions: The dietary information and guidance presented is intended to inform and empower people with MS about dietary approaches for self-management of their MS. It is also a useful resource for clinicians to facilitate discussion of the benefits of healthy eating habits with their patients with MS, and help them avoid potentially harmful or unintended consequences of dietary approaches that have limited evidence. The dietary guidance is one of several projects from this group, aimed at promoting and supporting healthy nutrition in people with MS.