Because available conventional treatments are only partially effective and may produce side effects, most patients with MS use therapies proposed by complementary and alternative medicine – usually diets and dietary supplements. In fact, an Internet search using the terms “multiple sclerosis” and “diet” produces over 6 million references, indicating that these treatments are widely used and believed in by the MS consumer community. The most common dietary interventions are supplementation with polyunsaturated fatty acids, allergen (gluten and milk)-free diets, vitamins, and micronutrients and antioxidants such as selenium, Gingko biloba extracts, coenzyme Q10.
The authors of this review tried to assess whether changes in dietary habits could favourably influence the prognosis of people with MS.
Although a massive amount of data has been published in this area, only 6 studies on polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), studying a total of 699 patients, met the minimal inclusion criteria in terms of methodological quality, for inclusion in this review. No studies on vitamins and antioxidant supplements were found that met our criteria. No papers on any other proposed dietary intervention for MS were found after extensive searching of the scientific databases.
The data available are insufficient to assess any potential benefit or harm that might result from PUFA supplementation. This is unfortunate since 50-75% of people with MS make use of such diets and dietary supplementations. —Cochrane 2009