Multiple Sclerosis and Fasting

This topic contains 5 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  jmueller 6 years, 10 months ago.

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  • I would like to share my story if possible and see about getting some advice.

    I am a 41 year old male. I have had MS since 2009 and it has recently started to progress. Although I can still walk I need a scooter for long distances because of fatigue and balance issues. I also have cognitive problems, numbness in my left hand, and sexual issues.

    I have always struggled with my weight. Not huge but love to eat junk food and hate to exercise. I am 6’0″ and weigh 215 lbs 39″ waist. I have tried Atkins, low-fat, high-fat, and Weight Watchers with little success. My Neurologist wants me on the Mediterranean Diet but that was a no go – I hate fish.

    After reading a story on Jimmy Kimmell losing weight and keeping it off, I decided to get Dr Mosley’s book ‘The Fast Diet’ and I like what I see. I have a few questions:

    1. I get the 2 fast days. I plan on eating yogurt and fruit for breakfast (apple for fiber to combat bowel problems) and skinless chicken breast and veggies for dinner to stay under 600 cals for the day. Coffee (black) and water for liquids. My TDEE is 2565 Daily calories suggested to maintain weight or 2052 Calories per day to lose fat. (from So what do I eat on my non fast days? Jimmy Kimmell says he pigs out but I am skeptic. Should I try to hit my TDEE and maybe one pig-out day per week?
    2. Anyone else with MS use fasting? Has it helped or hurt?
    3. What about tracking calories? Necessary or evil waste of time?

    I haven’t finished the book yet and I want to before starting. Family and friends are very skeptical. My wife and I are also nervous because I am getting ready to start Rituxan Intravenous (aka Rituximab) for my MS. (Rituximab is used alone or with other medications to treat certain types of cancer (e.g., non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia). It is a type of medication called a monoclonal antibody. It works by attaching to certain blood cells from your immune system (B cells) and killing them. It is also used with other monoclonal antibodies and radioactive drugs to treat certain cancers.

    Common side effects of Rituxan include:

    headache, fever, chills, stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, heartburn, flushing

    Any thoughts or input on that would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for listening. I am sure I’ll have other questions.


    I suggest you calculate your TDEE using the how it works tab at the top of the page and keep under that on non fast days.

    It would also be better for you if you try to make healthy choices. I’m not saying don’t have a treat now and then but junk food/processed carbs aren’t very good for a sluggish system so it would be good to keep them to a minimum and eat more fibre rich vegetables.

    As for the medication, if you do suffer from side effects it might make fast days a challenge but you’ll just have to see how it goes.If you get diarrhoea you’ll need to drink lots of water and maybe take some electrolytes.

    Hi MRomanow,

    Here is a link to a thread containing short discussion about the topic including a post by Dr. Michael Mosley himself regarding fasting and MS. If you haven’t already viewed it, you might like to have a look at:

    I’m currently in maintenance and I didn’t track calories on non-fasting days during my weight loss phase, nor have I tracked them since reaching goal weight.

    I too have an auto-immune disease, Hashimotos plus have struggled with related conditions, so understand concern about how all might go ahead with regard to medications etc.

    The most recent studies to have emerged with regard to fasting and chemo lean towards fasting serving to reduce side effects of chemo. I know you don’t have cancer, though you also may reap reduced side effect benefits once you’ve commenced fasting. Here’s a link that explains more about that:

    Keep us posted on how you do.

    Hi MRomanow,

    Similarly to Lael, I do not have MS, but am doing 5:2 and I do have an auto-immune disease. I have rheumatoid arthritis and also polymyalgia, which I’ve had for 17 years.

    As Lael mentioned there has been research that has looked at things like fasting windows and calorie restriction as techniques for reducing the side effects of chemotherapy. I came across this research about a year ago (well before I stated 5:2) and after a bit of experimentation with my own treatment cycle I discovered that I got a great deal of benefit by doing a couple of days of healthy eating and following a fasting window before each treatment. My current rheumatoid treatment drug is abatacept, which destroys my immune T-cells. I have intravenous infusions every 4 weeks. Prior to these dietary changes my immediate side effects from each infusion were nausea, vomiting, severe headaches, dehydration and intense fatigue. These lasted 2-3 days and I would usually spend 1-2 days after treatment in bed. Since I made the dietary changes I have had no nausea or vomiting at all. There is always some fatigue and a little dehydration and occasionally I have a mild headache. I never need to spend a day in bed after treatment now – it’s a really big improvement.

    Basically the fasting window I adhere to means that I only eat between approximately 12noon-9pm. I fast the rest of the time, although I’ll have a cup of tea if I need it, but no food. Initially I only did this for a few days before each treatment, but I actually found it helped me so much with evening binging, so I decided to adopt this eating pattern every day as binging is quite a problem for me.

    I started 5:2 a month ago to lose some weight I had gained in December. I’ve found it reasonably easy and I can’t see any negative effects on my rheumatoid symptoms. I think this is a way of eating that I could do long term. For my January treatment infusion I planned to do one of my fast days the day before my infusion – I felt quite well in the following days, even managed some gardening the next day.

    Something else I noticed before adopting these changes, was a connection between the types of food I ate and how bad the side effects from treatment were. Essentially, the more fat I ate in the days before treatment, the worse my side effects were. I think this is because chemotherapy and other immune suppressant treatments are metabolised by our liver. A high fat content in our diet also creates a high workload for the liver. Combining the two I think is more than the liver can handle quickly. I try to stick to a low fat diet in the days before treatment to give my liver the best chance of metabolising the treatment drug quickly. I also follow my rheumatologist’s advice and avoid alcohol most of the time, which also helps.

    I wish you luck with this plan, I really hope it works for you. Have a read through the website so that you have a clear idea of how it works. The 5:2 diet doesn’t specify any particular type of food just how many calories you should be eating on fast days and non-fast days, the rest is your choice. Although they do recommend that you eat mainly protein and vegetables on the fast days.

    How you doing?
    Trust this finds you well.

    I have secondary progressive ms (23) years.

    The last 5 years have been a little testing. I now drive a car using hand controls and get a round on foot sometimes with the aid of crutches.

    Weight of 95 kilos 186cm.

    I used to fast every monday for over 20 years just liquids. i used to work in the catering industry and i always took most mondays off.

    I am trying the diet for all the known benefits. I am curious as to the early results in mice of new cells being created while using the fasting method.
    Anyone else interested in this.

    All the Best


    I also have secudary progressive MS, and my treatment is also Rituximab.

    The side effects, of the treatment are so weak, that I don´t even notice them. My diet is called intermittend fasting. I eat twice a day, 4 hours apart, 20 hours I don´t eat at all.

    I´m doing it for about two months now.
    The results are:
    – I have more energy througout the day
    – The feeling in my hands are returning to normal
    – The Thinking is more clear, then before
    – I lost about 10lb of fat (no kidding!)
    – I just feel better and have more motivation to do things
    – Some of the inflamed spot in my brain have vanished on my new MRI

    I cannot see any negative effects from my own experience.
    Just one: Sometimes you have to watch others eat… 😉

    The best of luck to you all, Josh

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