Barts MS Blog: #ClinicSpeak & #DietSpeak: Could diet be the next DMT?


#ClinicSpeak & #DietSpeak: Could diet be the next DMT?

Are you what you eat? How healthy is your diet? #ClinicSpeak #DietSpeak

Whilst on holiday I spent several days with a very good friend of mine, from South Africa, who now lives in the US. His wife is a card-carrying dietician, who runs her own consulting business that helps athletes, companies and individuals improve their health and wellness through diet and exercise. After listening to her and seeing her methods in action, it became clear to me that my approach of leaving dietary and exercise interventions up to you and your general practitioners to implement is wrong; it doesn’t work. As part of ‘the holistic management’ of multiple sclerosis, we need to engage with lifestyle and wellness interventions more proactively. I am convinced they should be promoted as part of our disease-modifying therapy offering.

The saying ‘you are what you eat’ may be overused, but it captures the essence of what you need to do to optimise your health and wellness. We are aware from a recent dietary audit of patients attending Bart-MS that the average diet of pwMS living in London is very poor. Our interpretation of the audit results was that it is not MS specific, but simply reflects the poor diet of the general population of London, and presumably the whole country. Despite ongoing public health campaigns and wide media coverage on healthy eating, it is clear that most people either don’t listen, ignore the advice or don’t feel it is necessary to change their behaviour. I am aware that the issues around healthy eating are complex and that the food landscape is mired in politics and is heavily influenced by big business with vested interests.

We have tended to shy away from promoting any specific diet for the management of MS. Saying this I have done several posts on diet and its effect on MS; two particular posts, one on ketogenic diets (5th-Jan-2016) and the other on intermittent fasting (30th-May-2016) generated interest and quite a lot of discussion. There is emerging evidence of that intermittent ketosis and fasting may have general health benefits, which include potential benefits for pwMS. I, therefore, plan to do a series of posts on diet and nutrition in relation to MS over the next few months. These will be general posts about diet and nutrition and will give advice on what you can do to optimise your own diet to improve your general health and wellness. The aim of this exercise is to generate content to produce a #ClinicSpeak tool to help you manage your diet as part of the holistic self-management of MS.

Please note a themed series of posts in relation to one topic, that is not specifically related to research or a political campaign, is something we have not done before. Is this something you would find useful going forward? We could, for example, do a series on bladder management, DMT monitoring, etc. This content could then be migrated onto a curated site such as ClinicSpeak to make navigation easier. Thoughts?

Gavin Giovannoni