Volunteers wanted for MS diet study

People with MS often wonder if their MS is affected by what they eat.  Articles about the reported benefits of various diets appear regularly.

Now, researchers at the University of Iowa are going to study two of the most well know MS diets to see what impact they have on MS symptoms, specifically on the level of a patient’s MS-related fatigue.

Both MS Diets Eliminate Meat

The diets to be studied are the Wahls Elimination diet and the Swank diet. The Wahls Elimination diet excludes all grains, legumes (such as peas, beans, lentils and peanuts), dairy, eggs, and nightshade vegetables (such as eggplant, peppers, potatoes and tomatoes). Swank is a low saturated fat diet that eliminates red meat but includes whole grains and low fat dairy. Both diets include certain vegetables, fruits and dietary supplements.

Study investigators will be recruiting 100 people with relapsing-remitting MS who experience fatigue.  The clinical trial will last 36 weeks. Participants will follow their usual diet for 12 weeks and then be randomly assigned to follow a low saturated fat diet (Swank diet) or a modified Paleolithic diet (Wahls diet), for the next 24 weeks. Their health and activities will be extensively monitored during the study. The study requires 4 visits to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, Iowa. Reimbursement will be provided for some aspects of the study.

Individuals interested in being considered for enrollment in this study should complete screening questionnaires at: https://redcap.icts.uiowa.edu/redcap/surveys/ and use code:  JMJPYEJHP.  For questions, email: MSDietStudy@healthcare.uiowa.edu or call 319-384-5053.

Wahls and Swank

Terry Wahls, MD created the Wahls Protocol diet after being diagnosed with MS and progressing to the point where she began using a wheelchair. She’s spent more than a decade studying the origins of certain foods and vitamins and their effects on the body. Whals tells the University of Iowa web site that, after following her own diet, “In three months the fatigue was gone. In six months I was walking without a cane, and after nine months, I was biking around the block. A year after I started, I did a 20-mile bike ride.”

Roy Swank, MD, PhD, began studying MS in 1948 and created the low saturated fat Swank Diet around 1950 after he observed a higher incidence of MS in geographic areas that ate meat, milk, eggs, and cheese – foods that are high in saturated fat — and a lower incidence in areas that ate fish.  He spent more than 50 years recommending this diet to his patients and monitoring their health.

Both diets have been shown to have a positive impact on patients with multiple sclerosis.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society in the U.S. has granted $1 million to Dr. Whals, at the University of Iowa, for this clinical study.


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