Open Day MS Diet

This year UCL our UCLP partner hosted the 5th Barts Research Day.They chose the venue, the format and the speakers

At last the research Day presentations begin

Dr Jeremy Chataway and Dr Hayley Moroney: 

What kind of research has been done in the relationship between mitochondrial function and MS? Is there any relationship and if there is a relationship, what about the diet that supports mitochondrial function, such as diet high in proteins, vitamins, minerals etc.?
As far I know there is no evidence in the relationship between mitochondrial function and MS. There were few groups that looked at the fundamental sides of the mitochondrial function, such as oxygenation, or that it may be something wrong with mitochondria. It will be discussed in the afternoon today. In terms of the diet and mitochondrial disease, is it important to have a well-balanced diet. Some people do benefit from certain protein supplements, which normally the neurologists would recommend. But we routinely wouldn’t recommend any additional supplements.

I cut beans and peas out of my diet and generally feel better. Then if I have them again by accident, my tremors increase and I have a cold chill going down my arm.
There is no data in the relationship between tremors, beans and peas. However if you do feel better without them in your diet, you can avoid and still have a well-balanced diet if you have other vegetables and protein sources. So you will need more fibre and protein from other sources if you are cutting beans and peas.

I am now thoroughly confused about Vitamin D. MS nurses prescribe Vitamin D in high doses, when you said that it is still a very grey area?
It is a very confessing area. Vitamin D is important in epidemiology of MS. However if it is an interventional drug it is still unknown and working progress. I do know of a study in which patients were supplemented with 10.000 international units for up to 6 months and it didn’t show any adverse effects. There are more studies and trials ongoing. In terms of the actual dose, it is again quite difficult, 4000-5000 is safe, 10000 is also probably safe, but that would probably be the recommendations. If you are going to use Vitamin D supplements, it is better to use a good dose, and the chance of toxicity is quite low.

Eliminating food groups. There is a lot of research showing that gut health regulates the immune system quite substantially. Do you think it is worth testing people individually for intolerance to certain food groups rather than just eliminating the whole food group?
An individual person will have individual problems and intolerance. In terms of the intolerance testing, the gold standard is if you feel that you are intolerant then to just exclude the food for about 4 weeks and see if there is an effect. Later reintroduce the same food and see if the symptoms will come back. It’s a gold standard for food intolerance and everything is very individual. If you are concerned about restricting a specific food group, then I would suggest have one-to-one with a dietician and he or she will be able to look at the whole food intake, your weight and everything else, and your past medical history as well.