Diet and Multiple Sclerosis (MS) – A Letter to the BBC

Earlier today it was announced in the news that Jack Osbourne has Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Jack is the son of our own Ozzy Osbourne who was born and lived a few short miles from where we live in Birmingham, UK so whilst Jack comes from the US this story kind of feels close to home.

Multiple Sclerosis – BBC Radio 5  Live

In light of Jack’s diagnosis Radio 5 Live ran a show on MS with Victoria Derbyshire this morning. On the show several members of the public called in to talk through their own experiences living with MS. It was a fairly interesting, if not a little sad show that covered various drug treatments, support groups but there was one obvious omission – not a single mention of diet or lifestyle changes for the management of MS and it’s symptoms.

The following is an email I composed and sent to Victoria to give some visibility of the dietary approach for handling Multiple Sclerosis. It was not meant to be comprehensive but was primarily intended as a brief overview of the options available and to stimulate further reading.

Email to Victoria Derbyshire at BBC Radio 5 Live

Hey Victoria

I just listened to the show regarding MS and was kind of shocked that there was not a single caller on the show talking about diet or the effect of diet on MS symptoms and progression. Since the 1950’s there have been diet approaches for MS which really started with the Swank Low Fat diet which have been shown to be successful for those that follow the recommendations and swank tracked his patients over 50 years with all remaining ambulatory.

More recently, George Jelinek, an Australian Doctor was diagnosed and has created a modern, evidence based program which uses the swank system as a base. You can find more information about that here: George is now 12 years into a diagnosis, statistically the worst kind as pointed out by one of your callers being a male in their 40s as this usually a steep and rapid slide into disability. George however, is totally symptom free.

More cutting edge is the Best Bet Diet and the Paleo Diet Autoimmune Protocol where an elimination of grains along with a high nutrient diet is working to allow people to recover and prevent any further problems with their MS amongst many other autoimmune illnesses. An American doctor called Terry Wahls has an interesting story how she has got up and out of a wheelchair and reversed the aggressive symptoms of MS and is now full ambulatory (view her story here:

Additionally, a lot of the theories put forward are now being provided in scientific studies and a report released Feb 2012 outlines the mechanisms for all autoimmune diseases and further explains why a diet free of neolithic food types like grains and dairy is so succesfful in treating not just MS but graves disease, huntingtons and a whole host of other autoimmune diseases.

In light of the Fasano study, big pharma is starting to sit up and take notice and is now looking at drugs to restore intestinal permeability to help with the MS but this is perfectly doable with diet alone without the need for drugs.

These diets all work with a ‘do no harm’ philosophy and are at worst very healthy diets that will help with the quality of life. At best, these diets can reverse symptoms and problems as with Terry Wahls and allow people to get better. In an ideal world, people would adapt a dietary approach straight after diagnosis so that

There are just so many credible people, scientists, doctors and the like that are suggesting a dietary based approach to dealing with MS that the mainstream press and charities are not on board is really, truly disappointing and any serious discussion about MS should at least mention these approaches.

More details here: – Terry Wahls Video – an overview – a grain free Paleo style MS diet

Personally, we are three years in with no real active symptoms and no progression. Symptoms that doctors told us would be there for life have dissipated and eating certain foods that we now to be problematic can result in an almost instant spike in symptoms.

I really hope you can throw some light on the dietary approach, if only for people to see this as an option and to do some further research themselves. It is helping us, it is helping thousands of others and unlike the drugs, there are no nasty side effects.

Diet is just the tip of the iceberg and exercise and supplementation with vitamin D and omega 3 (combined with reduced omega 6 intake) has all been proven to reduce the severity of the disease. – vitamin D

I would be happy to provide more information or talk further if it helps.



I would love to get the BBC to throw some light on the whole diet for MS discussion and if only one more person starts to read up and see how they can help themselves with a dietary approach it would be worth it. It is just so disappointing  that the only place people look is the drugs when diet, exercise and some basic supplementation with vitamin D and omega 3 can do more than these infective, side effect laden drug treatments.

Please drop a comment below and share this article and lets see if we can get the BBC to sit up and take notice.

About Marcus

Husband to an amazing wife who was diagnosed with MS nearly three years ago. Since then we have been fighting, and winning with the help of the Paleo diet and the ancestral health movement. Dedicated to sharing the lifestyle we use to keep beating MS and to helping others with the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol.

6 Responses to Diet and Multiple Sclerosis (MS) – A Letter to the BBC

  1. Jason June 18, 2012 at 7:51 pm #

    That’s a great email Marcus. it’s incredible that not one person raised the topic of diet when discussing MS and it’s symptoms on 5 live and really very sad.

    I think we are a nation that is becoming increasingly over reliant upon drugs and medication and neglecting the huge roles that nutrition, exercise, sleep & anti-stress techniques play in the prevention and cure of many illnesses. Hopefully as the anecdotal evidence builds up and people, such as Terry Wahls, continue to spread their messages of success in reversing symptoms of diseases, like MS, there will start to be more main stream acceptance of what can be achieved through a clean, healthy lifestyle.

  2. Donna June 19, 2012 at 1:11 am #

    Excellent email. My son (27) was diagnosed with MS four months ago. First you cry and then get busy educating yourself. The treatment my son has decided to follow is in line with Dr. Terry Walhs protocol – paleo based diet, with at least 9 cups raw veg and berries daily, grass fed organic meats and eggs and supplements. He is also experimenting with different marijuana strains for pain and spasticity. (Thank God for the dispensaries) The improvements have been incredible! We just bought an elliptical machine and will now add exercise to his regime. The changes in his health have been dramatic – from limping and dragging one foot to walking unassisted, going full days without fatigue and naps. But most of all he now has hope! This protocol is not for the faint of heart or easy on the pocket book. The insurance company will fork out 40k a year for drugs but not one cent for organic foods, non flouridated water, medical maijuana etc. Spread the word, the answers are really very simple.

    • marcusmiller June 19, 2012 at 12:55 pm #

      Hey Donna

      I would recommend the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol as suggested by Robb Wolf. This is a standard paleo diet, very similar to the Wahls approach but it includes the removal of a few additional foods.

      Basically, standard Paleo diet (no grains, legumes, dairy), vitamin D and omega 3 supplementation.

      Then, the following additions, strictly for 30 days
      – no eggs
      – no nuts or seeds
      – no eggplants
      – no tomatoes
      – no peppers

      Reason being that all of these plants have the potential to be gut irritants and that the healing of the gut is absolutely essential. One the gut is healed after around 30 days you can try introducing these foods, say one every 3 days and see if there is a reaction.

      The paleo solution book by Robb Wolf is a must read on this subject as is the weekly podcast over at his site.

      Do let us know how you are getting on!

      Best of luck!

  3. Donna June 20, 2012 at 12:04 am #

    Thankyou for book and specific recommendations. Eating eggs, nuts and seeds for variety and calories. Trying to get some weight on the boy! We have come this far – a month break from above listed foods is such a small sacrifice for potential rewards.

    I can understand why diets are not mentioned as a course of treatment. Most people cannot stick to a diet for weight loss purposes. It is definitely not a quick fix and requires great effort (initially) and total compliance. If people only knew that after a few weeks of compliance it gets easier as the cravings for neo foods disappear. This is not a diet but a lifestyle change – a save your life change if you will.

    Thankyou for getting “it” out there. Hpoefully, Jack will get “it”.

  4. Estelle September 2, 2015 at 6:06 pm #

    Hi Marcus

    I have just come across your website, and find it so refreshing to see the support you have given your wife through her diagnosis.

    I was diagnosed over 2 years ago and through my own research I have been managing my condition with supplementation and a Paleo Lifestyle.

    What frustrates the hell out of me and even still when I look on all the of MS Websites it’s mainly focused around treating the condition with medication and not diet.. My Neurologist was useless to the point I haven’t been back and seen another one, as I am still on the search for a specialist who understands Terry Wahls and the methodologies of natural healing.

    Your doing some great work and I hope that one day I can help spread the message of healing your body through a nutrient dense diet and not medication.

    • Marcus September 8, 2015 at 10:37 am #

      Hey Estelle. We are in the same boat. Post diagnosis we have not seen the neurologist in years. In fact, we did see one guy who said he could see no obvious problems and then another that was clearly the drugs guy and was trying to convince my wife to take the drugs. We stand firm. It is not perfect, there are small issues and knowing the path and walking it are two different things but… we are doing okay. :)

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