the wahls research fund

Support Dr. Terry Wahls' Research at the University of Iowa

The University of Iowa has created The Wahls Research Fund to support Dr. Wahls’ research.

All funds raised will support the research being conducted by Dr. Wahls’ research lab.

How You Can Help:

By Donating to the Wahls Research Fund, You Will Help:

  • Educate more health care team members about the role of food in healing and health.
  • Raise awareness about the small role genetics play in acquiring MS and other chronic health problems – only 5% – and the large role environment plays: 95% of the risk for acquiring MS and other chronic health problems is related to what we eat, poisons in our food and water, excessive levels of stress, and the quality of our social and family connections.
  • Fund clinical trials that follow the impact of The Wahls Protocol®.

Having more full-time research staff will make it easier for Dr. Wahls to expand her work. More staff allows us to conduct more basic science studies, which will help to understand the mechanisms of why the interventions we use are so effective.

Basic science studies cost $100,000; small feasibility and safety study costs $300,000; and research staff, dietitians, and post-doctoral scholars cost $50,000 to $100,000 per year, depending on their qualifications. All of these efforts cannot continue without your vital support.

Host A Third-Party Event:

Have you thought about hosting your own event to raise awareness and funds for the Wahls Research Fund? The University of Iowa Center for Advancement has assembled a PDF guide for hosting third-party events that raise funds to support the research of Dr. Wahls and her lab.

Download the guide here.

By donating, you become part of a team doing research that is changing lives and improving the future.

The University of Iowa Center for Advancement is a nonprofit organization on the University of Iowa campus that solicits private, tax-deductible contributions for all areas of the university, including the diet and lifestyle research for Dr. Terry Wahls.

The University of Iowa acknowledges the UI Center for Advancement as the preferred channel for private contributions that benefit all areas of the university. When donating to The Wahls Research Fund, you will receive a thank you letter and receipt for tax purposes from the University of Iowa Center for Advancement.

You will be helping her team have more resources on hand to conduct more innovative studies that can change the standard of medical care. For additional questions, contact Megan Rife, Associate Director of Development, UI Center for Advancement Thank you for your support!

Levels Of Giving Include:

Founder: $300,000

Covers the cost of conducting a small safety and feasibility study.

PLATINUM: $150,000

Covers the cost of a small mechanistic study.

GOLD: $60,000

Covers the cost of hiring a research intern for one year.

SILVER: $25,000

Covers the cost of graduate student intern for one year.

BRONZE: $6,000

Covers the cost of publishing and presenting one paper at a national scientific meeting.

Begin Supporting The Wahls Research Fund Today:

Whatever level of giving you can provide will help ensure that Dr. Wahls can continue to study the impact of nutrition, meditation, massage, exercise, and electrical stimulation in the setting of progressive multiple sclerosis and other chronic health problems.

Donations by check should be made payable to University of Iowa Center for Advancement and include “The Wahls Research Fund” on the memo line. Please mail checks to:

University of Iowa Center for Advancement, P.O. Box 4550, Iowa City, IA 52244 USA.

Future Directions

We have several studies in various stages of development. We have philanthropic support to collect some additional bio-specimens and vision studies as part of the Dietary Approaches to Treating MS Related Fatigue clinical trial. We have also identified a collaborator at Bastyr University with a data set of over 1,000 individuals with multiple sclerosis with information about diet, lifestyle, and function. This data set is noteworthy because it allows people to self-report if they are following a popular MS diet, such as Swank, Wahls, Paleo, McDougal, and others. We would love to be able to analyze those data. We are also working on a proposal to test the Wahls™ diet in the setting of ALS.

We are always writing grants, submitting proposals, and looking for collaborators.  Philanthropic support that allows us to collect pilot data for these studies is crucial, allowing us to make grant proposals much stronger. We have already received generous support and hope to secure more, so that we can build on these proposals, generate pilot data, and submit more competitive grants to the National MS Society and the National Institutes for Health. Please contact Megan Rife ( at the University of Iowa Center for Advancement to learn more about any of these research proposals.

Get links to Dr. Wahls’ research papers and links to the public-facing gait videos from her studies:

Check your email for 2 things—1. An email to opt-in and 2. An email with all the papers linked inside.

Learn more about the current research

Dietary Approaches to Treating MS Related Fatigue

This study is funded by a $1-million grant from the National MS Society to compare the effectiveness of a low–saturated fat diet (Swank) and a modified Paleolithic diet (Wahls Elimination) at reducing the severity of MS-related fatigue. The study is actively recruiting subjects with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis and fatigue who live within 500 miles of the University of Iowa. More details about the study and information about who is eligible to participate can be found here.

Impact of the Swank and Wahls™ Diets on the Microbiome

We have been collecting stool specimens at each study visit in the Dietary Approaches to Treating MS Related Fatigue Study. We want to analyze the change in microbiome as people adopt the Swank and the Wahls Elimination™ diets and assess the association between the two study diets, the microbiome, and the various clinical outcomes that we are studying. Shifts in the microbiome composition are likely an important potential mechanism that can lead to a favorable change in clinical outcomes. Dr. Ashutosh Marangalam, University of Iowa Microbiome expert, is co-investigator.

Impact of the Swank and Wahls™ Diet on Gene Expression (Epigenetics)

Epigenetics is the science of how and which factors in the environment can turn genes on and off. Measuring shifts in RNA expression is a powerful tool for studying epigenetic changes. We have been collecting RNA specimens in the Dietary Approaches to Treating MS Related Fatigue Study. We want to analyze the changes in genes that happen as people adopt the Swank and the Wahls Elimination™ diet and assess the association between adopting the two study diets, gene expression (as measured by RNA), and the various clinical outcomes that we are studying. Shifts in gene expression are likely an important underlying mechanism that can lead to a favorable change in clinical outcomes. Dr. Kevin Knudtson, University of Iowa RNA expert, is the co-investigator.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) Care in MS Study

This is a study of dietary and lifestyle factors in the setting of multiple sclerosis collected every six months over 5 years. Our primary question is what diet and lifestyle factors are associated with the most favorable clinical outcomes? Which factors are associated with the highest quality of life, highest function, and slowest disease progression? At present, approximately 900 subjects have completed at least one survey. In addition, as part of the research program, subjects will complete an automated 24-hour dietary assessment every 6 months to assess the nutritional adequacy of the diet. The dietary assessment will allow researchers to assess how reliably individuals are following the specific dietary plan that they reported following. Note that 24-hour dietary assessments are the gold standard for measuring how nutrient dense a diet is (nutritional adequacy), which makes this data set very useful in assessing the impact of diet in the setting of MS. These dietary data will give us important insights into the benefits of following the usual American diet, low saturated fat (Swank), modified Paleolithic (Wahls), Mediterranean, low fat vegan (McDougall), Paleolithic, and Gluten Free diets, as well as the nutritional adequacy of various self-reporting diets individuals adopt without being trained by a research dietitian. Because the people completing these surveys have adopted the diets based on their instruction from a book or their personal medical team, this study is an excellent, real-world application of the effectiveness of these various diet plans. The survey data will give us insights into the relationship between diet, supplements, and lifestyle choices and quality of life, clinical outcomes, and functional status. This is a tremendous opportunity, with already nearly 1,000 participants, of which almost a third are reporting that they use some variation of the Paleolithic diet, Wahls™ diet, or Swank diet. The data will continue to be collected for several years, and we are actively seeking philanthropic support to conduct the data analyses. Co-investigator is Dr. Laurie Mischley, ND, PhD at Bastyr University.

Nutritional Adequacy of the Wahls™ Diet and the Wahls Paleo Plus™ Diet

We have collected dietary data from three studies in the form of 24-hour dietary recalls and food frequency questionnaires. The next step is to complete the analysis of the nutrients—that is the minerals, vitamins, and other micronutrients and macronutrients in the diet—to assess how well each of the study diets has provided the nutrients that peer-reviewed literature has indicated are important for brain and mitochondrial health. Once we have that data, we can then examine for associations between dietary intake and clinical outcomes like fatigue, cognition, mood, motor function, and functional gains over time. We have this data from three different pilot studies. The hypothesis is that the Wahls™ and the Wahls Paleo Plus™ are nutritionally adequate and have clinically and statistically significant associations with the various clinical outcomes. Dr. Linda Snetselaar, RD, PhD, University of Iowa Nutrition Epidemiology expert, is the co-investigator.

Dietary Approaches to Treating ALS Related Symptoms

We are actively seeking philanthropic support to launch this innovative safety study.

Several individuals with ALS have reported stabilization of their ALS-related symptoms and even improvement of muscle strength and stamina after implementing the Wahls Protocol®. We will conduct a safety and feasibility study of implementing Wahls Elimination™ diet for 12 weeks in the setting of ALS. We will conduct body composition analysis to confirm that muscle mass is not lost. We will also assess resting energy expenditure before and after implementing the Wahls Elimination™ diet. Dr. Andrea Swenson, University of Iowa ALS expert, is the co-investigator.

About Dr. Wahls & Clinical Practice


I have a very limited private practice to see patients.

You can learn more about my private practice here. In addition, I have created a variety of programs to help people adopt and sustain the Wahls Protocol in their lives.

You can learn more about the memberships, menus, video courses, and many more offerings, including the Wahls Protocol® Seminar, which will teach you what the Wahls Protocol® is and how it can transform your health. That information can be found under the “Products” tab.

I also encourage you to buy my books to learn more about my experience and discuss what you’ve learned, as well as your individual health concerns, with your physician. By improving the environment for our cells through better nutrition, eliminating toxins, minimizing food sensitivities, and increasing exercise and stress-reducing activities, many people experience steady improvements in their health.

I hope all of this information will assist you in your journey toward optimal health and vitality.

In Health,
Dr. Terry Wahls

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