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Dietary patterns in clinical subtypes of multiple sclerosis: an exploratory study

Geeta SM Ramsaransing1, Sanne A Mellema1 and Jacques De Keyser12*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Neurology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands

2 Department of Neurology, Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussel, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium

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Nutrition Journal 2009, 8:36  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-8-36

Published: 10 August 2009



Multiple sclerosis is a neurodegenerative disorder with a wide range in disease course severity. Many factors seem to be implicated in multiple sclerosis disease course, and diet has been suggested to play a role. Because limited data is present in the literature it was investigated whether variations in dietary intake may be related to the severity of the disease course in multiple sclerosis.


Using a food diary during 14 days, the dietary intake of 23 nutrients and vitamins was measured in patients with primary progressive (n = 21), secondary progressive (n = 32), and benign multiple sclerosis (n = 27) and compared to each other. The intake measured was also compared to the intake of the Dutch population and to the recommended daily allowance.


Compared to the other MS groups, the secondary progressive MS patients had a lower intake of magnesium, calcium and iron. The total group of MS patients had, compared to the Dutch population, a lower intake of folate, magnesium and copper and a lower energy intake. Compared to the daily recommended allowance, the MS patients had a lower than recommended intake of folic acid, magnesium, zinc and selenium.


Magnesium, calcium and iron intake may possibly be related to MS disease progression, and should receive further attention. This is important because no effective neuroprotective treatment for MS patients is available.