The influence of nutritional factors on the prognosis of multiple sclerosis.Nat Rev Neurol 2012; 8(12):678-89NR
The effect of nutrition and dietary supplements on the course of multiple sclerosis (MS) is a topic of great interest to both patients and clinicians. In particular, vitamin D status has been shown to influence both the incidence and the course of MS. High vitamin D levels are probably protective against the development of MS, although the efficacy of vitamin D supplementation in slowing progression of MS remains to be established. The influence of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) on the development and course of MS has also long been under investigation. Small clinical trials suggest a modest reduction in the severity and duration of relapses in patients with MS receiving PUFA supplements. Other nutritional factors have been evaluated for their effect on MS disease progression, including milk proteins, gluten, probiotics, antioxidants (uric acid, vitamins A, C and E, lipoic acid), polyphenols, Ginkgo biloba extracts and curcumin. However, further studies are needed to evaluate the effects of these dietary components on the relapse rate and progression of MS. This Review gives an overview of the literature on the nutritional factors most commonly implicated as having an effect on MS and discusses the biological rationale that is thought to underlie their influence.