Supplementation with synbiotics and adherence to an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant-rich diet can reduce inflammation in the intestine and improve the clinical manifestations of progressive forms of multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a new study published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience

Prior research has shown that an anti-inflammatory diet can normalize the gut microbiome in patients with MS.

Here, a team of researchers led by Zamzam Paknahad, PhD, from the Department of Clinical Nutrition, School of Nutrition & Food Science at Isfahan University of Medical Sciences in Iran, conducted a single-center, single-blind, randomized clinical trial to explore the effects of dietary intervention in patients with progressive MS.

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The team recruited a total of 69 patients with primary-progressive, secondary-progressive, or progressive-relapsing MS. They divided the patients into 2 groups. Those in the first group received daily synbiotics capsules plus an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant-rich diet for 4 months, while those in the second group received placebo capsules plus dietary recommendations for the same amount of time. 

The results showed that the levels of fecal calprotectin, a marker of intestinal inflammation, were significantly lower in patients who received synbiotics and the anti-inflammatory, antioxidant-rich diet compared to the others. The mean changes in fecal calprotectin from baseline following the dietary supplementation and intervention were statistically significant. The vision capacity of patients who received the anti-inflammatory diet also improved.

However, the intervention did not lead to any changes in anthropometric measurements, which included body weight, body mass index, waist circumference, hip circumference, waist-to-hip ratio, mid-arm circumference, corrected arm muscle area, triceps skinfold thickness, and percent body fat.

“Synbiotics supplementation and concurrent adherence to an anti-inflammatory-antioxidant rich diet had a significant role in gastrointestinal well-being,” the study authors wrote. “It is feasible to enroll progressive MS patients into an individualized dietary program based on the current findings to promote health-related conditions.”


Moravejolahkami AR, Chitsaz A, Hassanzadeh A, Paknahad Z. Effects of anti-inflammatory-antioxidant-rich diet and co-supplemented synbiotics intervention in patients with progressive forms of multiple sclerosis: a single-center, single-blind randomized clinical trial. Nutr Neurosci. 2022;29:1-12. doi:10.1080/1028415X.2022.2128010