The role of diet in multiple sclerosis: A review

Nutr Neurosci. 2018 Jul;21(6):377-390. doi: 10.1080/1028415X.2017.1303016. Epub 2017 Mar 24.


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a multifactorial, inflammatory, and neurodegenerative disease of the central nervous system, where environmental factors interact with genetic susceptibility. The role of diet on MS has not been comprehensively elucidated; therefore, through an extensive search of relevant literature, this review reports the most significant evidence regarding nutrition as a possible co-factor influencing the inflammatory cascade by acting on both its molecular pathways and gut microbiota. Since nutritional status and dietary habits in MS patients have not been extensively reported, the lack of a scientific-based consensus on dietary recommendation in MS could encourage many patients to experiment alternative dietetic regimens, increasing the risk of malnutrition. This work investigates the health implications of an unbalanced diet in MS, and collects recent findings on nutrients of great interest among MS patients and physicians. The aim of this review is to elucidate the role of an accurate nutritional counseling in MS to move toward a multidisciplinary management of the disease and to encourage future studies demonstrating the role of a healthy diet on the onset and course of MS.

Keywords: Diet; Dietary recommendation; Gut microbiota; Inflammation; Malnutrition; Multiple sclerosis; Nutrients in multiple sclerosis; Nutritional assessment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage
  • Body Composition
  • Complementary Therapies
  • Diet*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dysbiosis / blood
  • Fatty Acids / administration & dosage
  • Fatty Acids / blood
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / administration & dosage
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / blood
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / blood
  • Leptin / blood
  • Lipopolysaccharides / blood
  • Malnutrition / blood
  • Micronutrients / administration & dosage
  • Micronutrients / blood
  • Multiple Sclerosis / blood
  • Multiple Sclerosis / diagnosis*
  • Nutritional Status
  • Obesity / blood
  • Osteoporosis / blood
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Recommended Dietary Allowances
  • Risk Factors
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin D / blood


  • Antioxidants
  • Fatty Acids
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • Leptin
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Micronutrients
  • Vitamin D