I'm depressed now - MS diets eg Swank

I was diagnosed with RRMS recently and read about cows milk, meat, supplements etc, so have gone almost vegetarian, nearly cut out milk products and am taking loads of supplements. I have just started reading Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis (Jelinek), where basically he says that the Swank trials show that it is all or nothing. All those hard and expensive changes I have made have been for nothing! I just can’t see how I can live on nuts and seeds for the rest of my life because firstly I don’t like them and secondly I don’t want to eat differently from my partner for ever. Do any of you follow these diets religiously and have had no relapses?

I personally believe they don’t work I mean you can have a reaction to certain foods but if MS is a autoimmune disease how can food change your immune system in a way it stops attacking you.

Also how many RRMS people have you heard ever post here their relapses have gone, their mobility is better from the swank diet.

A DMD that works and good exercise working all muscle groups I think is going to help us.

Words and testimonies don’t mean anything the big machine of marketing is at play here like Dr Hays as well or don’t drink diet drinks if you have MS.

Some video of a MS person before and after with medical back up then I might believe it.

Here is a post from someone who wised up. (link removed by Moderator)

Hi Puddinglover,

There’s very little orthodox medical evidence in support of these extreme diets. Having MS certainly does NOT mean having to live on nuts and seeds for the rest of your life. It’s a personal choice, but you have to weigh up how good the evidence really is (i.e. if it’s that great, why isn’t your neuro or MS nurse really pushing it?) versus how miserable it’s going to make you. Having a chronic incurable disease is already miserable, so are you sure forcing yourself to eat stuff you don’t even like for the rest of your days is really worth it?

I haven’t tampered with my diet at all - it still includes chips and chocolate, but only in moderation - the same as before. Without wishing to tempt fate, I haven’t had a proper relapse - one I was absolutely sure about - since diagnosis, over three years ago. The odd blip that might or might not have been something, perhaps - but could equally well have been due to a cold, or just plain old overdoing things.

I’m not saying the reason I’ve gone a long time between relapses is because of my diet - far from it. I think it’s largely a matter of luck. But all I’m saying is it doesn’t seem to have done me any terrible harm to carry on eating what I like. I don’t go mad with red meats and saturated fats, but I’ve never gone out of my way to avoid them, either.

If in doubt, ask your neuro. I’m sure he’ll tell you there is no special diet he particularly recommends for MS - just a varied, balanced diet, suitable for everyone. With some illnesses, you have to alter your diet - there is no choice. But MS isn’t one of them. Just like acupuncture, or meditation, or any alternative therapy, diet is one approach, if people feel it helps them. But it’s still just an option, not compulsory. If you don’t feel it’s making a positive contribution to your life, why persevere with it?



Hello Puddinglover

I don’t follow any of these diets…never read about them.

Do you feel better on the diet your on? if you do good. If you don’t, change it

Your own body will let you know, if its not enjoying what you give it .

Mine body never says no, to good quality chocolate


Thanks for your replies, and the interesting link. The evidence being quoted is the spread and increase of MS, which correlates with the spread and increase of countries’ saturated fat intake, along with a few other studies, obviously including Swanks 34 year study. I hoped that by following the diet partially I was not only being more healthy (I have a serious chocolate habit) but also was helping cut down my relapse rate. Oh well! I’ll just have to rely on the DMDs if I ever get my appointment.

Oh I just had another thought look on youtube and leaky gut and MS and lots of other diseases
I actually hardly ever eat cheese or milk etc and pretty sure I don’t have leaky gut I throw that one to Malik

Here is one lol Multiple Sclerosis and Autoimmune Diseases: The Impact of Diet - John McDougall, MD - YouTube

It’s an hour long! Will have to save that until tomorrow, but I look forward to finding out about leaky gut lol. I just found this, which seems to say that cheese is ok :slight_smile: Correlation between milk and dairy product consumption and multiple sclerosis prevalence: a worldwide study - PubMed

Do you not think the supposed spread and increase of MS might simply be due to improved detection rates in recent times?

I’m sure there’s been a drastic increase in MS diagnoses since we had MRI machines. However, it does not follow that MRI machines cause MS!

I think, in the past, about as many people had it - they just had less chance of being diagnosed.

My doctor has even said to me: “Of course, in the past, you wouldn’t have been diagnosed!”. I think that’s very likely true, but I’m not sure if it’s comforting or not, because the fact is, I have been.

I can see some possible advantages to not knowing, but on the other hand, I’m not sure I’d like to spend my whole life feeling as rubbish as I do, but being told either that there was nothing wrong, or that it must be psychological!

Anyway, all a bit off-topic, but I think, in days gone by, you had to be quite a lot worse before it could be officially recognized as MS. So some people still got diagnosed, but probably not the ones who walked in looking fine on the outside, because there was no way to look inside their heads and see the lesions.

Interestingly, in the past, it used to be thought more men than women got MS (in reality, the reverse is true), because men tended to be believed when they reported odd symptoms that mysteriously came and went, whereas women were dismissed as hysterical.

So it just shows how the attitudes of the times, and the tools and techniques available make a big difference to the figures for how many have MS.

There are documented cases of “likely” MS going back as far as medieval times, though of course, MS as a term wasn’t coined until the 1800s, so it’s impossible to prove those ancient cases were the same disease, because they couldn’t refer to it by name. But certainly suspiciously similar, with people having unexplained bouts of trouble walking or seeing, which mysteriously healed themselves (then regarded divine intervention). So if the theory is right that those were MS, it’s been around for centuries, and isn’t a product of modern diet or lifestyle.


The problem you have is that othodox medicine has more or less abandoned one of its original ethics '‘Let food be your medicine’ and if you look at some of the newer drugs ‘‘First do no harm’’ seems to be going fast too.

Nerwer drugs are also becomming more expensive so in many cases that route is not available to many either.

Therefore unless your doctors have studied the subject they have litle help to offer you and they generally use the no evedence line for anything they do not know about. LDN, CCSVI questions get much the same responce.

My perception is the Terry Wahls a doctor with MS in the US is doing most to prove the food treatment system in terms of clinical trials.

I just watched it was very compelling but so is David Icke

Hi, I follow a dairy free, gluten and wheat free diet But thats only because I began drinking cows milk 6 months before my big first MS attack. Before that I have always drunk soya milk. Secondly I noticed in the past I used to get bloating in my stomach, used to swell up like i was pregnant and I would get very tired after lunch if I ate bread. I didn’t get tested for gluten sensitivity. I just thought there a link possibly between gluten, daity and MS. So at that point decided to cut out these foods as I want to take no chances. If I hadn’t had these symptoms before with wheat I might have continued eating it. x

If eating fresh food is extreme, then I guess I am guilty. Try something like a Mediterranean diet and your body will love you for it.

Quite so. Just because some bloke says something in a book doesn’t mean that you have to take it (or him) seriously. Remembering that is surely one of the most important things that a person can do to keep herself (fairly) sane while living with MS.


Anitra put it very nicely - try moderation.

I put this another way - “you can cure yourself, just buy my book and find out how!”

I do find Terry Wahls work a bit more persuasive - because she has published in peer-reviewed journals.
However, if you actually read what she says, there is a lot more to the Wahls protocol than just diet.

Personally, I am with whammel regarding the “Mediterranean Diet”. Fourteen years ago, a Cardiac Nurse was pushing this at me (just after a heart bypass) and was very surprised to learn that I already did everything that she advocated.

Just think how long ago our ancestors stopped being “hunter-gatherers” - we have surely advanced in the last two-three-four-or so millenia.


I follow the seafood diet.

I see food and I eat it

The only foods I avoid are the ones I dislike and I haven’t noticed anything different about my symptoms whether or not I avoid certain foods. I did try a month without cheese and chocolate once to see if it helped prevent migraines. To my absolute delight (in a perverse way) it made no difference and I still had a massive migraine at the end of the month.

I do have to eat plenty of fruit and veg (and sometimes linseeds) to aid the digestive system and prevent constipation (thanks MS) but apart from that I eat what I like.

The big thing which kept me relapse free for 3 years was Rebif. Since that didn’t work last year, I am now on Gilenya and I’m hoping that will do the trick for several more years.

Tracey xx

Absolutely! When I first saw my GP about my symptoms I had 3 sets of blood tests in 2 weeks, which returned “normal” results. My GP put me through the basic neurological tests and said that other than a little problem with my balance, he thought I was “normal”. (Obviously he couldn’t feel the numbness / buzzing in my hands, feet and legs nor could he experience the vertigo and cognitive problems). Thankfully I had access to BUPA through work so saw a neurologist very promptly. He also considered me to be “normal”, suggesting that I possibly had a virus, but agreed to run an MRI. After that gave “unexpected” results, i.e. lesions, I had a LP which confirmed MS. I was actually dreading negative results, because I felt I wasn’t believed about my symptoms and felt a little insane. I really feel for those poor people who suffered before the development of diagnostic tools.

Regarding diet, after seeing my grandmother struggle for years (she adhered to the diet absolutely for over a decade) on a no-fat diet due to hereditary high colesterol, I’ve decided that whilst I won’t go out of my way to be terribly unhealthy, equally I want to enjoy the life I have and have no intention of making it to 90 or so with a very healthy heart but the rest of my body and functions knackered by MS!

So I guess your not depressed now Puddinglover now you know all these diets
don’t cure anything apart from constipation

Well it certainly seems that most of you don’t believe in the diets. I will still do what I can as it is obviously better to cut down on fat and eat more fruit and veg anyway, but I know I cannot stick to such a strict diet as the one proposed in the book. Thanks so much for all the replies, I love a good debate :slight_smile:

What works for one person, may not work for another, hence the confusion with research in this disease… I know its not for everyone or possible for everyone, but I do try to do a little exercise, walking and swimming plus steam room / sauna and I do feel better for it, mentally and physically…plus I am lucky that my wife is such a good cook and alot of the times she does avoid processed foods…