OBJECTIVES: To determine whether a low fat diet supplemented with omega-3 positively affects quality of life (QOL) in relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) patients. In this 1-year long double-blind, randomized trial, patients were randomized to two dietary interventions: the "Fish Oil" (FO) group received a low fat diet (15% fat) with omega-3 FOs and the "Olive Oil" (OO) group received the AHA Step I diet (fat 30%) with OO supplements. The primary outcome measure was the Physical Components Summary Scale (PCS) of the Short Health Status Questionnaire (SF-36). Additional measures using MS specific QOL questionnaires, neurological status and relapse rate were obtained.

RESULTS: 31 RRMS patients were enrolled, with mean follow up over 11 +/- SD 2.9 months. Clinical benefits favoring the FO group were observed on PCS/SF-36 (P = 0.050) and MHI (P = 0.050) at 6 months. Reduced fatigue was seen on the OO diet at 6 months (P = 0.035). The relapse rate decreased in both groups relative to the rates during the 1 year preceding the study: mean change in relapse rate in the FO group: -0.79 +/- SD 1.12 relapses/year (P = 0.021) vs. -0.69 +/- SD 1.11 (P = 0.044) in the OO group.

This study suggests that a low fat diet supplemented with omega-3 PUFA can have moderate benefits in RRMS patients on concurrent disease modifying therapies.