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Multiple Sclerosis Diet And Exercise

Stretching: Hamstrings And Calf Stretch

Exercise and Diet Updates for People with MS

There are two different types of stretching: dynamic and static. Dynamic or movement-based stretches, such as walking kicks or alternating knee hugs, are a great way to warm up the body before working out.

Static stretching, in which you hold stretches for more than 20 seconds, can help you improve or maintain range of motion and flexibility, and may help with spasticity, says Reilly. These stretches may be performed once the body is warm or as an option for cooldown.

Reilly recommends the following stretches for hamstrings and calf muscles, which can be done from a seated or standing position.

Disease Progression Evaluated With Non

Two studies by Prakash and colleagues have evaluated the effects of cardiorespiratory fitness on brain function and structure by applying MRI . One study investigated the impact of cardiorespiratory fitness on cerebrovascular functioning of MS patients. Twenty-four female participants with relapsingremitting MS were recruited for the study and all participants went through fitness assessment and were scanned in a 3-T MRI system while performing the Paced Visual Serial Addition Test . Higher fitness levels were associated with faster performance during the PVSAT that could be related to greater recruitment of a specific region of the cerebral cortex known to be recruited by MS patients during performance of PVSAT to purportedly compensate for the cognitive deterioration attributable to MS. In contrast, lower levels of fitness were associated with enhanced activity in the anterior cingulate cortex , thought to reflect the presence of a larger amount of conflict increasing the potential for error in lower fit MS participants. The authors interpreted the results as supporting aerobic training as an intervention to support the development of additional cortical resources in an attempt to counter the cognitive decline resulting from MS. Among a number of cognitive tests, only the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test showed a weak correlation to VO2 peak leading the authors to suggest that fitness does not have an influence on measures of general cognitive functioning.

How I Took Control Of My Ms With Healthy Habits

When I was diagnosed with MS at 39, I would say my focus on my health was sporadic. I had young kids at the time, and my diet and exercise habits were all over the place. Before kids, Iâd jog a few times a week, or get on the treadmill or bike. Iâd also work in some weight training. But after the kids came along, I no longer did much regular physical activity. I was focused more on my kidsâ schedules and needs than my own.

Once the kids were older, I began to have more time and attention for healthy eating, but my worsening MS symptoms were a real barrier to moving my body the way I once could. Because of my fatigue and balance issues, I could no longer jog or even go for long walks. So I started trying to figure out what I could do for myself. I decided to turn to yoga — something I used to do years ago.

I started by going to classes twice a week, but even that got hard for me, because keeping myself steady is so challenging. I was constantly worried that I might fall over and embarrass myself trying to do a Standing Warrior pose. And then I discovered one-on-one sessions. My instructor was so good about modifying any pose I needed help with. Sheâd show me how to use a wall or chair for support. These changes in my yoga practice meant I could do a little bit of exercise daily, which has turned out to be an important key to my well-being.

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Nutritional Lifestyle As Risk Factor Or Complementary Treatment For Patients With Multiple Sclerosis

Despite a normal calorie intake, patients with MS often have an imbalance between macronutrients intake with low-carbohydrate and high-lipid diet associated with abdominal obesity, higher body mass index , waist-to-hip ratio, waist-to-height ratio, and higher fat percentage. This condition leads to a pro-inflammatory status with high serum levels of interleukin 6 , TNF-alpha, and leptin, which are all related with MS pathogenesis . Moreover, according to the existing evidence, there is a link between dietary intake of lipids and higher prevalence and MS progression .

Therefore, the nutritional lifestyle leading to high BMI, abdominal obesity, or dysbiosis might induce a systemic pro-inflammatory state contributing to disease pathogenesis and severity.

Adherence To Dietary Interventions

6 Hand Exercises for Multiple Sclerosis

Table S1, which is published in the online version of this article at, presents the actual percentage of each macronutrient consumed during the 3-day period calculated for both groups while consuming the two research diets. Overall, both groups demonstrated significant adherence to each diet, and there were no between-group differences seen in macronutrient intake.

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What If You Get Overheated

If youâre sensitive to heat, your symptoms may show up or get worse when your body temperature rises. This will happen when you exercise. To avoid overheating:

  • Don’t exercise during the hottest part of the day . Try to work out in the morning or evening if you’re exercising outside.
  • Drink plenty of cool water.
  • Be aware of your body. If you notice any symptoms you didn’t have before you started exercising, slow down or stop until you cool down.
  • Swimming and water aerobics are good ways to stay cool while you work out. Just make sure there are nonslip floors in the locker room and around the pool.

The Overcoming Ms Diet

The Overcoming MS diet was developed by Dr George Jelinek in 1999 following his own diagnosis with MS. Its part of a lifestyle programme which includes diet, medication, exercise and meditation.

The OMS diet recommendations are similar to the Swank diet. It advises cutting out dairy and meat, and eating less fat particularly saturated fat. It also recommends flaxseed oil as an omega 3 supplement and vitamin D supplements if you dont get out in the sun much.

Recommended Reading: Tim Ferriss Slow Carb Diet

How Our Dietitian Appointments Work

You can speak to an MS dietitian via telehealth or face-to-face, depending on where you live. Get in touch with us via our contact form and well let you know which option is available for you. After your first appointment, youll come away with:

  • a personalised nutrition plan, recipe ideas and strategies to make changes
  • support to take the next steps in your diet journey.

Types Of Exercise For Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis – Key Exercise to Build Your Leg Strength

Multiple sclerosis often leads to a variety of physical symptoms. Some common physical symptoms in MS patients include:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Numbness and tingling

There are times when symptoms become so debilitating, that daily activities like doing the laundry or grocery shopping can be nearly impossible. When symptoms are exacerbated, patients will often decrease physical activity for the fear of making them worse. But lack of exercise can actually lead to increased frequency and more severe symptoms.

Over exercise or exercise that is too intense can cause too much inflammation and stress on the body, which can also make symptoms worse. Its important to choose the right type of exercise to make sure your body is getting the amount and intensity of exercise to help it heal.

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Disease Progression Evaluated With Clinical Measures

A number of studies evaluating structured exercise interventions lasting from 3 to 26 weeks have included clinical scales reflecting disease progression as an outcome measure. The applied clinical scales include the EDSS , the MSFC , the Guys Neurological Disability Scale and the Functional Independence Measure . Studies applying the EDSS have generally not found any change after either endurance training , resistance training or combined training interventions . Only one study by Golzari and colleagues evaluating the effects of 8 weeks of combined training reported an improvement in EDSS score . This finding was not confirmed in a long-term study also evaluating the effects of combined training. In the study by Romberg and colleagues no effect on EDSS and FIM were found, but a small positive effect was seen in the MSFC. A few studies applied the GNDS with one reporting an improvement after 12 weeks of biweekly endurance training and one reporting no effects of 4 weeks endurance training completed 3 days a week .

In summary, structured exercise intervention studies of different exercise modalities lasting 326 weeks have generally found no effects on EDSS scores. A few exercise studies have shown positive effects when applying other clinical scales .

Are Paleo Diets And The Wahls Protocol Healthy

Following a Paleo diet wouldnt generally be considered bad for you, although youd have to make sure you were getting all the nutrients you need. Current evidence around good diet suggests that we should eat nutritionally balanced diets, so cutting out whole groups of foods like dairy, wholegrains and pulses is restrictive.

Cutting out cereals and dairy could mean you miss out on some B vitamins, vitamin D and calcium. And if you have high energy needs or youre underweight, excluded foods might make it harder to get the energy you need. The large amounts of meat recommended are higher than current health advice on how much meat you should eat – and could also make it expensive.

The Wahls diet doesnt completely cut out all of the same foods as other Paleo diets do, but you should still check you get all the nutrients you need.

Read Also: Original Cabbage Soup Diet Recipe

Diet And Exercise Tips To Improve Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms

Have you ever eaten extra healthy for a few days? Meals consisted of green leafy vegetables, lots of fruit, lean protein, wholesome grains, and heart-healthy fats. After following a nutrient-dense diet for several days, you may have noticed improved energy levels, less brain fog, and better sleep. This is because the foods you eat have a significant impact on overall health, especially in patients with multiple sclerosis.

Multiple sclerosis is a neurodegenerative autoimmune disease. The body mistakenly attacks healthy myelin cells around the spinal cord and brain. This results in symptoms like fatigue, changes in vision, mobility issues, pain, cognitive dysfunction, and even depression.

Ongoing research and patient experience show that specific diets accompanied by a balanced exercise program can relieve many multiple sclerosis symptoms. For some, making a few changes to food choices is enough to feel some sense of improvement. For others, a new diet strategy may be a better option to reduce existing symptoms and prevent new ones from popping up.

Limitations Of Current Dietary Research In Multiple Sclerosis And Future Directions


Research regarding the role of diet in multiple sclerosis is advancing but currently remains limited. Few studies have been prospective with rigorously collected outcomes, and the few clinical trials that have been conducted have not been of sufficient size or length to adequately assess efficacy. Moving this field of research forward presents several challenges. Further work needs to be done regarding assessment tools for recording dietary habits in MS patients. Epidemiologic and observational studies of diet are confounded by other behaviors such as smoking and exercise. These can be accounted for in statistical models, but these methods are imperfect and the possibility of unmeasured confounders always exists.

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Multiple Sclerosis And Exercise

Multiple Sclerosis is a disease in which the immune system attacks and destroys the fatty myelin coating that surrounds and insulates nerve cells, a process known as demyelination. Some of the common symptoms experienced by people with MS include, fatigue, muscle spasms, walking difficulties, and numbness and tingling of the face, body, arms and legs.

Physical activity increases strength and self-confidence and helps reduce the risk of those with MS developing cardiac diseases, bone fractures, and other conditions. One study indicates that lack of exercise and a poor diet are the most common risk factors for those with MS.

The first study on the benefits that exercise can provide to people with MS was published by University of Utah researchers in 1996. The participants improved their cardiovascular, bladder and bowel function, increased their strength, experienced less fatigue, developed a more positive attitude, and suffered fewer bouts of depression.

Exercise programs should fit a persons capabilities and limitations. The focus should be on the way the exercise is done rather than the number of times it is repeated. An exercise program should be designed under medical supervision and can be adjusted as MS symptoms change. A person with MS should exercise three to four times a week, and avoid workouts in the hottest periods of the day.

Exercises that can help manage MS symptoms include:

Upper Body Strength Training: Shoulder Press

Working major muscle groups in your upper body will improve or maintain their strength, says Reilly. You use these muscles to carry objects and perform other daily activities, she says.

Many exercises are designed to work upper body muscle groups . Below is an example of how to strengthen your upper body with shoulder press options using free weights, cans of soup, resistance bands , or body weight.

Read Also: Can You Lose Weight On The Mediterranean Diet

Are There Nutrients That Help

No vitamin or mineral can curb MS. Scientists have studied a few, though.

Fish oil

The research is mixed on whether this helps.

In one small study, a group of people with MS took a teaspoon of fish oil each day with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins A, D, and E. They were also advised to avoid saturated fat and eat a lot of fish and vegetables. After 2 years, these people were less likely to report new or worsening symptoms, and only 12% of them had relapses.

But in another study, there wasnât a clear benefit in taking fish oil supplements.

Omega-3s lower inflammation, and they appear to be safe for people with MS. Theyâre in fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, and tuna. If you take supplements, let your doctor know.

Vitamin D

Studies show that people with MS who have higher vitamin D levels are less likely to relapse. But thereâs no proof that taking vitamin D prevents MS or curbs MS symptoms in people who already have the condition.

Only a few foods have vitamin D, such as fish and fortified foods like orange juice, milk, and some alternative milk products . Your body can make vitamin D when youâre in the sunlight. Or you take a supplement.

Vitamin A

One study showed some limited promise, but you would want more research to check those findings before you took it to heart.

If you take any supplement, tell your doctor. Itâs possible to get too much of some vitamins, including A and D. Those overdoses can cause health problems.

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Does The Swank Diet Help With Ms

What is MS? – National MS Society

Some people say that following this diet has made them feel better, and reduced the number of relapses theyve had. Other people have not had any benefit from following it.

From the research thats been published, theres not enough evidence to show this diet can reduce relapses.

One small but well-designed research study in 2021 suggests the Swank diet might help with fatigue. This study also looked at the .

There have been a few other studies of the Swank diet, but theyve not generally been well designed. They also had very high drop-out rates, so without knowing what happened to the people who dropped out of the study its hard to draw clear conclusions.

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Diet And Exercise Updates

Diet for Persons with MS

Life after diagnosis with multiple sclerosis can be overwhelming because symptoms vary from person to person. Remember, there is a lot of information out there that may be misleading. Rely on healthcare providers and valid organizations to provide factual information.

The expression You are what you eat has been around for a long time and has proven to hold true. Your diet can be an important tool in dealing with life with MS. Although there is no diet for curing MS, there are dietary habits that may alter the course of the disease. It has been demonstrated that people with MS who have an increased Body Mass Index experience more relapses than people with a normal BMI.

There has also been an association with worsening scores with Expanded Disability Status Scale , with higher cholesterol and triglycerides. Finally, diet has significant effects on the gut microbiome.

Everyones diet goals are different and should be made in consultation with your healthcare team , but your goals may include:

  • Maintaining a normal BMI and a good cholesterol level.
  • Monitor caloric intake.
  • Eat foods high in omega-3 and 6 fatty acids.
  • This includes fatty fish, walnuts, flaxseeds and canola oil.
  • Consume alcohol and caffeine in moderation.
  • Make sure to supplement with Vitamin D and have your levels checked periodically
  • Exercise Updates for Persons with MS

    • Sex Drive and/or Function
    • Memory and Cognition

    Could Brain Health Exercises Help

    As Ive oft said in the pages of Life With Multiple Sclerosis, forewarned is forearmed. If our medical team sees these periventricular white spots on an MRI, we can now assume they will not repair themselves to any great degree. That being the case, we might want to consider some preemptive brain health exercises.

    A strong, healthy body will recover better from injury or illness than an unhealthy one, and the same can go for the mental capacity of our brains. In this case, its more like an athlete rehabilitating an injury not just to recover but also to strengthen against further injury: When you see a spot near a ventricle, its time to do the mental equivalent of stretches and weight training.

    What might those exercises be?

    One study found that reading and writing, in particular, were related to higher hippocampal volume indicating a greater neurological reserve and better memory.

    And one review of studies found that computerized cognitive training can improve some thinking and memory functions in people with MS.

    What about brain teasers, sudoku puzzles, and activities like watching and playing Jeopardy? They certainly wont hurt, but if youre concerned about how MS is affecting your cognitive function, its worth talking to your neurologist about evidence-based cognitive training programs that might be available to you.

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