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What healthy fats are best for multiple sclerosis? February 9, 2009

Posted by Rebecca Hoover in Diet - the right diet for MS, what you need to eat.
Be sure to have some fish oil with omega-3s and a fatty acid called linoleic acid every day.  Linoleic acid is found in sunflower seeds, safflower oil, etc.

Be sure to have some fish oil with omega-3s and a fatty acid called linoleic acid every day. Linoleic acid is found in sunflower seeds, safflower oil, etc.

Because epidemiological evidence shows that saturated fat consumption is linked to high rates of multiple sclerosis (MS), everyone who has studied even a little bit about fats and MS knows that saturated fats should be kept to less than 15 grams per day in the diet and that transfats should be avoided altogether. Other than that, however, what kinds of fats should be included?

First, researchers have often found that fish oil and its omega-3 fats seem to be helpful for multiple sclerosis — based on both epidemiological studies and experiments. I recommend at least six grams of fish oil each day containing about 2 grams of omega-3s each day. For more information on how fish oil may help MS and make you sexy too, please see my post: Fish oil makes you sexy and helps MS.

Next, a number of experiments suggests that linoleic acid, a fat found in safflower and sunflower seeds, etc. may help MS. For example, one experiment showed that while linoleic acid in the diet did not decrease the number of relapses, it did help make relapses more mild and it did help delay disability. The evidence is strong enough that the National Health Service in England recommends use of linoleic acid by MS patients. I personally eat about 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds to secure some linoleic acid each day. Other sources of linoleic acid include walnuts.

Other helpful oils include olive oil.  While there is no evidence that olive oil helps treat or prevent MS, there is plenty of evidence that olive oil is good for overall health.

When using oils, it should be remembered that oils should not be heated too much or reused. To keep oils from getting too hot, water can be added to pans in which oils are heated. Also, oils that are rancid should never be used.

Eating the right oils in the right amount is essential for those with MS. For additional information on the right diet for MS, please see my post on: Right diet may be the best way to beat MS and sizzle too.

Please let me know if you find my blog helpful. Please add a comment. What did you like? What would you like added? Thanks! Together we can change the way the world views MS. Please also join the Intelligent Guide to MS page on Facebook. I will use that page to make timely posts on new research and other issues likely to be of interest to others.

Please remember to consult with your doctors about how to stay as healthy as possible. Nothing here should be interpreted as medical advice. Instead, please use the information you find here in your discussions with your doctor.

Copyright 2008 Rebecca Hoover

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Tags: Beat, MS, Multiple Sclerosis, Linoleic Acid, Oils, Fats



1. julie calder - January 8, 2009

Would you say that sunflower seed oil e.g. Mazola is good for cooking then? I have always tended to use this as a ‘back-up’ if I have run out of extra virgin olive oil. I also buy seeded bread, sometimes with sunflower seeds on it.

Rebecca Hoover - January 8, 2009


Generally, oils are healthier if they have not been heated so I eat sauteed foods only rarely.

Like you, though, I do use extra virgin olive oil to saute foods and I add olive oil to soups, etc. The smoke point of extra virgin olive oil is only 320 degrees Fahrenheit. Sunflower oil is a good substitute because it has a smoke point of 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

The amount of linoleic acid suggested by research exceeds the amount contained in some sunflower seeds on bread. About 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds each day is probably needed. I buy the unroasted and unsalted sunflower seeds.

I hope all is well there!


2. Starla Ramcy - March 17, 2009

I left a mesage but when I didn’t fill out my email address it erased everything and now I have to start all over, which I don’t have the time for. I enjoy your website Rebecca and will return.

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