We finally did it! We have published the results from our study of the Swank diet versus the Wahls diet in Multiple Sclerosis Journal – Experimental, Translational and Clinical, an international, peer-reviewed publication. This is a tremendously exciting moment for our research team and for all multiple sclerosis patients around the globe, one that has been more than a decade in the making.
There were many steps: the case report, the case series, the single-arm safety, and feasibility study, and finally the small pilot randomized controlled studies. Thanks to funding from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, (read their press release here) we were able to enroll 87 participants. To start, we monitored them for 12 weeks, measuring fatigue severity, quality of life, and a variety of other clinical markers. Patients were then randomized and trained either on a low–saturated fat diet (the Swank diet) or the modified Paleolithic diet (the Wahls elimination diet). They were then followed for another 12 weeks, after which time they returned for repeat assessments on all measures.
We found that fatigue scores, quality of life measures, and clinical measures were stable during the initial 12-week observation. After adopting the Swank diet or the Wahls diet, participants had significant reductions in fatigue severity and improvements in quality of life measures at 12 weeks, which continued to further improve over the next 12 weeks. Additional analyses will be completed, including analyses of additional clinical outcomes such as blood biomarkers, changes in stool microbiome, and nutrient intake. Several more manuscripts are planned.
Because both groups experienced reduced fatigue and improved quality of life, it is important to examine the similarities between these two dietary patterns. Both patterns asked participants to increase the intake of vegetables and dietary fiber and reduce the intake of added sugars. Also, both groups use targeted nutritional supplements.
We absolutely could not have done this groundbreaking work without help. The early support from Dr. Ashton Embry and the Direct MS, a nonprofit that he and his wife created to help teach MS patients that diet is important, was essential, enabling our first study. We would also not be here without your support–you made my TEDx talk go viral, which led to a book deal for The Wahls Protocol and its companion cookbook, The Wahls Protocol Cooking for Life.
Thank you for believing in me.
Our mission is to teach the public and other clinicians that diet and lifestyle should be a critical part of everyone’s self-care. It can help manage chronic health challenges as well as promote healthy aging. If you want more help improving your diet, join us for a free five-day challenge starting August 15th. There is so much you can do to get your life back on track. If you’re ready to feel better, sign up now.
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Every week, I review the latest research published on pubmed.gov on multiple sclerosis treatment, dietary intervention studies and lifestyle intervention studies for autoimmune conditions, and send my thoughts on them in my newsletters.