Intermittent fasting shows benefits for MS

Published: 24 February 2022

A small study found that people with multiple sclerosis (MS) who did intermittent fasting for eight weeks had cognition and manual dexterity improvements, and also had less fatigue and pain scores.

The criteria of the fasting programme was that participants had to eat their meals within an eight-hour window only, with the other 16 hours of the day spent fasting.

The participants had a mean age of 46 and 83% were women. One person dropped out of the trial.

Positive reports included two people noticing they slept better, and others said they lost weight, had more energy, less acid reflux and feeling better overall.

Negative reports included headaches, constipation and having to schedule their social lives around the eating times.

After eight weeks, clinical outcomes were assessed. Fasting was found to have improved hand and finger dexterity and cognition. Pain and fatigue scores had lowered, although they were not deemed to be statistically significant, the researchers called them ‘clinically significant’.

The study’s authors said this study only focused on timings of food rather than food type, which may have made it easier to adhere to than traditional food-prescriptive diets.