Tips From a Doctor: RMS-friendly Diets, Vitamins and Supplements

  • by  Dr. Allen C. Bowling, MD, PhD
  •   October 15, 2018

Dr. Bowling is a paid spokesperson for Teva Neuroscience, Inc.

Many people in our MS clinic ask me about foods and supplements that may have beneficial or harmful effects on their MS. Some of these people have found all sorts of diet and supplement claims in books and on websites and have also had neurologists tell them that diets and supplements have no effect on MS. This can be very confusing!

Over the past 20 years, I’ve had the opportunity to extensively research this area and to lecture and write books and articles on this topic. In the end, I think this vast and confusing area can be distilled down to a few simple and practical conclusions. It is important to consult with your physician before taking supplements or changing your diet.

1. Dietary supplements. When people start thinking about MS-friendly nutrition, they often immediately go to dietary supplements. THIS IS AN ERROR. Many studies have shown that most supplements do not have beneficial effects. Thus, the nutritional focus should be on food and not supplements. Consult with your physician before taking any supplements.

2. Vitamin D. One supplement that is relevant to MS is vitamin D. There is great interest in vitamin D levels in patients with MS; therefore, it is reasonable to discuss vitamin D with your neurologist.

3. Vitamin B-12. Vitamin B-12 is important because deficiency of this nutrient may be higher in those with MS and may lead to neurological symptoms that mimic MS. Also, vitamin B-12 deficiency is more prevalent now because some commonly used medications, such as antacids and diabetes medications, increase the risk for vitamin B-12 deficiency.

There are many supplements that people with MS should avoid or use with caution. In my most recent review of the studies in this area, there are more than 200 dietary supplements that may have adverse effects on those with MS, such as worsening MS symptoms or increasing MS disease activity. For this reason, it is extremely important that you consult with a physician before taking any dietary supplements.

Want to read more? We have six tips for healthier eating, as well as a few recipes you might like.

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Dr. Allen C. Bowling, MD, PhD


Dr. Allen C Bowling, paid spokesperson for Teva Neuroscience, Inc.

About The Author

Dr. Allen C. Bowling, MD, PhD is an internationally renowned neurologist and multiple sclerosis specialist.


COPAXONE® (glatiramer acetate injection) is a prescription medicine that is used to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS), to include clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing-remitting disease, and active secondary progressive disease, in adults.

Do not use COPAXONE® if you are allergic to glatiramer acetate or mannitol.

See Important Safety Information below and full Prescribing Information for Copaxone® (glatiramer acetate Injection).

COP-45503 June 2018

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