Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system (CNS). Migration studies and the geographic distribution of MS suggest that environmental factors take part in the risk of MS. Many MS patients use diets or dietary supplements. The aim of this literature study is to examine the scientific evidence for the role of nutrition in multiple sclerosis. Vitamin D, polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), iron, gluten, antioxidants and vitamin B12 all have biologic mechanisms that could explain a possible effect on MS. Studies on allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model of MS, show protective effects of vitamin D, ω-6-fatty acids and antioxidants. Some clinical data suggest beneficial effects of vitamin D and PUFA supplements. There is not enough data on iron, vitamin B12, gluten or antioxidants to be able to draw valid conclusions.
There is not enough evidence to recommend dietary supplements to MS patients today. Many studies suggest possible beneficial effects and further large randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are needed to assess the effectiveness of dietary interventions. MS patients should follow the same dietary recommendations as the rest of the population. It can be considered to screen MS patients for certain deficiencies.