New research shows fasting a couple of days a week could potentially have big benefits for people with Multiple Sclerosis.
Amy Thomas was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis 13 years ago.
Amy Thomas said, “It’s just another component of my life to manage. It’s not defining who I am.”
Today, she’s getting blood drawn to measure the benefits of intermittent fasting. In the study, she eats non-starchy vegetables two days a week. She eats what she wants the other five days.
“I’m hopeful that this is going to show implications that are going to be beneficial and help,” said Thomas.
Neurologist Anne Cross is hopeful too.
Anne Haney Cross, MD, Professor of Neurology, Washington University St. Louis said, “Intermittent fasting reduces the inflammatory profile in the blood and possibly in the central nervous system.”
The potential benefit of fasting was an accidental discovery. In a study on mice immunized to develop MS, one mouse had abnormal teeth.
Doctor Cross said, “That particular mouse that couldn’t eat well didn’t get it.”
When his teeth were fixed, the mouse ate better and soon developed the animal model of the disease. That led to further research.
“It delayed the onset of this animal model. It reduced the severity. The mice had much less pathology. They had less nerve fiber loss,” said Doctor Cross.
An early study in humans shows encouraging effects.
Doctor Cross said, “It seemed to change their immune system.”
It won’t replace drugs for MS, but it could be a valuable addition to them.
Amy says she’ll keep fasting one day a week after the study.
“Ultimately, I want to be in control of this body, not allow the disease to be,” said Thomas.
Doctor Cross says intermittent fasting seems to have an anti-inflammatory effect.
This could actually change the course of the disease, rather than be a treatment to manage the symptoms.
The next step is to do a larger trial with more patients to determine just how beneficial intermittent fasting can be for people with m-s.