Living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) presents unique challenges, and individuals often seek holistic approaches to manage symptoms. Two dietary strategies that have gained attention in the MS community are the Swank Diet and the Wahls Protocol. While their effectiveness varies among individuals, some people report improvements in hand and arm dexterity.
The Swank Diet: A Low-Saturated Fat Approach
Developed by Dr Roy Swank, the Swank Diet focuses on reducing saturated fats. The main principles include:
- Prioritising whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and grains.
- Restricting intake of saturated fats found in red meats and dairy products.
- The entire Swank diet is available on the website of the Swank MS Foundation and was perfected over 50 years of research assessing hundreds of MS patients.
Dr Swank proposed that limiting saturated fats could potentially slow down the progression of MS, which has also been corroborated by the Multiple Sclerosis Trust. However, it’s essential to note that scientific evidence supporting this theory is not robust, and individual responses may vary.
Also Read: Living With Multiple Sclerosis: Here Are 4 Foods You Should Avoid To Manage Symptoms Of This Disease
The Wahls Protocol: Nutrient-Dense Eating
Designed by Dr Terry Wahls, a physician who has MS herself, the Wahls Protocol focuses on providing essential nutrients for the brain and nervous system. The protocol has three levels, with the most intensive level featuring:
- Aiming for a high intake of vegetables, especially those rich in colour and nutrients.
- Incorporating high-quality proteins into the diet.
- The detailed diet has been mentioned by the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine.
Dr Wahls designed this protocol based on her personal experience and the belief that certain nutrients are crucial for supporting the nervous system. Talking about the Wahls Diet, she said, “In six months, I was walking without a cane, and after nine months, I was biking around the block. A year after I started, I did a 20-mile bike ride.”
While some individuals have reported positive outcomes, scientific research supporting the Wahls Protocol for MS is limited. However, Dr Wahls was awarded $2.5 million last year to study the effects of this diet on MS.
Also Read: Multiple Sclerosis Can Cause Neurological Problems: Warning Signs To Note
Holistic Approach For Multiple Sclerosis
While the Swank Diet and the Wahls Protocol have gained attention in the MS community, it’s essential to approach them as complementary rather than exclusive treatments. Additionally, MS is a complex condition with individual variations, and what works for one person may not work for another.
Hence a well-balanced diet, regular exercise, and communication with healthcare professionals remain fundamental in managing MS symptoms.