Avoiding Dairy & Gluten Can Have a Dramatic Impact on The Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis

As was mentioned in the previous post food allergies and Multiple Sclerosis, Allergic reactions to certain foods may play a critical role in the development or exacerbation of MS.

Abundant anecdotal data indicates that many people have achieved either a permanent remission or a significant slowdown in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) disease progress through diet revision involving the elimination of hypersensitive food.

Two primary foods that should be avoided by those with MS are dairy and gluten containing products.

British playwright Roger MacDougall claims to have significantly reduced his MS symptoms by going on a gluten and casein free diet. His 1980 pamphlet My Fight Against Multiple Sclerosis is available online.

Dr. Norman A. Matheson also reported success with a diet free of gluten and casein. A letter describing his success was published in the Oct. 5, 1974, medical journal Lancet.

1. Avoid most commercially produced dairy products

An overwhelming body of research suggests strongly that increased milk consumption is associated with increased risk for ms. Over the past 50 years, a number of studies have been done examining the link between dairy products and ms.

Milk and all milk products should be avoided like the plague! That includes ice cream, yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, whipped cream, and kefir.   Many independent  research  studies have shown a link between milk products and Multiple Sclerosis.

According to a study appearing in Lancet in 1974 people who were fed cow’s milk as children were found to be more susceptible to MS as adults than people who were breast-fed.

A worldwide study published in the journal Neuroepidemiology revealed an association between eating dairy foods (cow’s milk, butter, and cream) and an increased prevalence of MS.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) epidemiology suggests that different factors are involved in the clinical expression of the disease. Alimentary cofactors have already been considered, but mainly theoretically. We have studied the relationship between MS prevalence and dairy product consumption in 27 countries and 29 populations all over the world, with Spearman’s correlation test. A good correlation between liquid cow milk and MS prevalence (rho = 0.836) was found; this correlation was highly significant (p < 0.001).

It has long been established that early exposure to bovine proteins is a trigger for insulin dependent diabetes mellitus. Researchers have made that same milk consumption connection to MS.

Researchers in France examined epidemiological data from populations around the world and found a highly significant correlation between consumption of liquid cow’s milk and the prevalence of MS.

There are extremely high incidents of Multiple Sclerosis in areas of the world that produce dairy products and high incidents among the farming communities along with the urban populations that drink cow’s milk.


In areas of the world where there is no cow’s milk consumption, such as Japan and Southeast Asia, there are no incidents of Multiple Sclerosis either. Such areas of the world consume soy milk rather than cow’s milk.

Interestingly, they discovered a weaker correlation between MS and the consumption of butter and cream, and no correlation between MS and cheese consumption.

While it’s been demonstrated that saturated fat, which is relatively high in whole milk products, is harmful to people who have MS, there may be more to the dairy connection than mere fat. One of the proteins in milk mimics a particular protein affiliated with human myelin. This milk protein could easily trigger an autoimmune response to native myelin, triggering an MS episode. Indeed, this immunologic cross-reactivity has been demonstrated in the laboratory in rodents that have MS.

An exception is natural homemade yogurt

Yogurt contains Probiotics, bacteria that are beneficial to a person’s health, either through protecting the body against pathogenic bacteria or assisting in recovery from an illness. Yogurts containing the bacteria lactobacilli and bifidobacteria show the most promise.

Daily consumption of yogurt with active probiotic bacterium, will maintain beneficial long term levels in the stomach and intestines.

Homemade yogurt that has been fermented for a minimum of 24 hours contains the most beneficial probiotics.

Homemade yogurt contains no lactose. Home made yogurt is fermented longer than the standard yogurt, allowing the bacteria additional time to break down the lactose in the milk. This results in a yogurt that is easier to digest and absorb in the small intestine thereby leaving less to cause trouble in the large intestine. As the yogurt ferments, the lactose is converted into lactic acid. Homemade yogurt can be made to eliminate virtually all of the lactose and will be much fresher than anything you can buy in a store.

On the other hand, virtually all commercial yogurts have way too much lactose because they are not 24 hour fermented.

2. Avoid gluten containing products

A growing body of evidence is beginning to show that there is a connection between MS and gluten intolerance.

Much anecdotal evidence suggests avoiding gluten may be beneficial in the control and reduction of MS symptoms.

But eliminating most of the gluten has improved my health tremendously

Overall prevalence of celiac disease in MS patients was between 5-10 times higher than the frequency found in the general population.  Click here to learn more on the connection between gluten intolerance and MS.



One response so far

Submitted Comments

  1. Steve Dillonon 03 Feb 2014 at 6:32 pm

    I am thinking it is really not dairy that is the problem, but processed dairy. Un-processed Raw milk and other dairy products made from Raw milk may actually be a benefit in relation to MS.

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