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Healthy Diet, Lifestyle Linked with Less Disability

Neurology; ePub 2017 Dec 6; Fitzgerald, et al

A healthy diet and a composite healthy lifestyle are associated with lesser disability and symptom burden in multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a recent study. In 2015, participants in the North American Research Committee on MS (NARCOMS) Registry completed a dietary screener questionnaire that estimates intake of fruits, vegetables and legumes, whole grains, added sugars, and red/processed meats. Researchers constructed an overall diet quality score for each individual based on these food groups; higher scores denoted a healthier diet. They assessed whether a composite healthy lifestyle measure, a healthier diet, healthy weight (body mass index <25), routine physical activity, and abstinence from smoking was associated with symptom severity. They found:

  • Of the 7,639 (68%) responders, 6,989 reported physician-diagnosed MS and provided dietary information.
  • Participants with diet quality scores in the highest quintile had lower levels of disability and lower depression scores.
  • Individuals reporting a composite healthy lifestyle had lower odds of reporting severe fatigue, depression, pain, or cognitive impairment.


Fitzgerald KC, Tyry T, Salter A, et al. Diet quality is associated with disability and symptom severity in multiple sclera. [Published online ahead of print December 6, 2017]. Neurology. doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000004768.