person eating just one almond on a plate, featured image around intermittent fasting and multiple sclerosis

Intermittent fasting may benefit MS

People with multiple sclerosis (MS) who undertook an eight-week intermittent fasting plan had immune and metabolic changes according to a new small study.

Researchers enrolled 36 patients and split them into three groups. In the control diet, patients received 100 per cent of their calorie needs every day, while those on a calorie-restricted diet got 78 per cent of their calorie needs daily. Those assigned to the intermittent calorie-restricted diet received 100 per cent of their calorie needs five days per week and 25 per cent of calorie needs two days per week.

Patients in the intermittent fasting group had significant changes in multiple types of immune T-cells that are central to the abnormal immune responses and inflammation that drive MS.

Specifically, effector memory T-cells were decreased. Also lowered were T-helper 1 cells, which activate other immune cells. The levels of inactive T-cells were also increased.

The results suggest there are benefits to calorie restriction for people with MS, but the researchers said larger studies are needed to determine the role of such intermittent fasting in several aspects of the disease.