Study shows potential link between eating meat and multiple sclerosis development

Several genetic and environmental factors cause multiple sclerosis and a new report suggests these may include eating meat and having a less diverse gut. 

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that affects millions of people worldwide. There is no singular cause of MS, but some research suggests outside factors such as where a person lives or their diet can influence their risk of having it. Gut bacteria are of particular interest because certain bacterial species regulate the immune response and are affected by a person’s diet.

The team studied the gut microbiome, immune response, diet, and blood metabolites of 25 people with multiple sclerosis and 24 healthy people who served as a control group. The strongest association towards multiple sclerosis came from eating meat.mPeople who eat high amounts of meat were more likely to have lower amounts of Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron in their microbiome. This bacterial species plays an important role in breaking down carbohydrates from vegetables.

“We found a number of gut bacteria associated with MS and severity of disability of MS patients. We also found increased autoimmune markers and signature metabolites in MS. But what is really interesting is how these systems connect with each other, and how diet is involved in these connections. Using multi-OMICS approaches, we try to close the loop and show the associations between multiple systems,” says Yanjiao Zhou, a researcher at UConn Health School of Medicine and study author in a statement.

In people with MS, eating a lot of meat correlated with an increase in T-helper 17 immune cells and an increase in S-adenosyl-L-methionine in the blood.

The study was not causational, so it’s impossible to determine that meat leads to MS. In fact, several people in the control group also ate high levels of meat with no increased risk of MS. Instead, the researchers suggest that in people with MS, eating meat may reduce important bacterial species, causing the immune system to go haywire and attack itself.

The study is published in the journal EBioMedicine.

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About the Author

Jocelyn Solis-Moreira

Jocelyn is a New York-based science journalist whose work has appeared in Discover Magazine, Health, and Live Science, among other publications. She holds a Master’s of Science in Psychology with a concentration in behavioral neuroscience and a Bachelor’s of Science in integrative neuroscience from Binghamton University. Jocelyn has reported on several medical and science topics ranging from coronavirus news to the latest findings in women’s health.


  1. In the 90s, my father’s identical twin brother got MS, and my father did not. They had the same diet. They also lived in the same state. They worked in the same industry. They both served in the military, but different branches. In their case, I suspect one was exposed to an environmental chemical trigger. They lived together much of there lives eating the same food, including lots of meat. Yet, one got MS and passed away from the disease. The other never even got MS.

    1. Autoimmune disorders are increasingly being connected to high deuterium levels. One of the greatest sources of deuterium is high fructose corn syrups. Mass spectroscopy shows the deuterium level to be 166ppm in HFCS whereas mean ocean levels are 156ppm. Did the one who developed MS consume more HFCS than the other? Meats produced on farms that grain-feed animals are much higher in deuterium levels than the grass-fed animals.

    1. I’m willing to bet everyone in the study also ate vegetables. Therefore, one may assume vegetable intake may contribute to the development of MS.

  2. The antibiotics they pump into meat animals is what is killing the gut flora. Eat locally sourced naturally raised meat and this non-causational correlation goes away.

  3. Eating meat causes MS? Find out about the people doing this study and you will discover a connection to animal rights morons. The study is total bullshit.

  4. This is a pretty terrible article, where are your references? A link to the study? Maybe some evidence? How about the result not being remotely similar to the article headline? The sun comes up every day, does that cause MS also?

  5. The study was not causational, so it’s impossible to determine that meat leads to MS. In fact, several people in the control group also ate high levels of meat with no increased risk of MS.

    Yet another meaningless headline click bait story

  6. My mother has severe MS and has been practically a vegetarian all of her life. She has eaten very little meat throughout her life. My aunt, her sister, also had MS, she passed away from complications from MS five years after her diagnosis, and she was a vegetarian.

    I was diagnosed 8 years ago with MS and I eat moderate amounts of meat, but not every day, and certainly not every meal. So, I am not believing this study.

  7. Bias against the diet that mankind has ate since there has been mankind. Crazy Vegans with no proof as usual.
    Fire trucks cause fires because they are around fires? lol…just studies to help keep people unhealthy as possible. Paid shill article. When will these fake scientific studies result in people getting fired for intentionally harming the public?

  8. Meat? How about the very high MS rate in the isolated Idaho town, Shoshone?
    It was caused by groundwater pollution. During the 80-90’s the Times News published a few articles about that, but omitted that cause.

  9. Fetal Bovine Serum is used in many vakkines production. (replace the k’s with an x)
    I wonder if, after injected with small amounts of FBS, the body becomes somewhat allergic to or over sensitive to anything bovine (cow). The people in the study that ate alot of meat and had no MS or less symptoms may be due to that person not being injected with FBS at some point or maybe they had less FSB. (Less vakkines) I also wonder if CJD as well as many other nerve sheath damage-caused diseases are from the FSB. I have read that some FSB samples have tested positive for everything from Cattle blood cancer to cattle leukemia. Humans use FSB as a fast growing medium to grow vakkine ingredients. (Fast growing like cancer perhaps?) We know that vakkines have led to Crohn’s and other gut issues. Monkey cells will do it to ya 🙂 You owe me $3,000,000,000 for solving all the auto-immune disorders. I accept cash or credit card. Sorry, no C.O.D.’s.

  10. Diet acts slowly to change your gut flora balance, but the fastest way to mess up your gut flora balance is by antibiotics or vaccines. The best way to repair your gut flora, besides pro-biotic pills or the elitists’ patented and intentionally degrading “fecal transplants” (other people’s powdered feces in a pill), is fermented foods. So if you’re a meat eater, have some saurekraut with your sausage. Or find lots of delicious fermented food recipes on YouTube.

  11. Hilarious. If someone eats a Quarter Pounder with cheese at McDonald’s that means they “eat meat.” Never mind the white bread and corn syrup in the ketchup, plus they probably also had french fries fried in soybean oil. Will we ever actually bother doing “science” ever again? Sigh….

    1. Why don’t you find some other website to prattle on. I have a nasty case of MS and appreciate the efforts of folks trying to help out.

  12. The study barely makes sense. Of course you’re bacterial flora matches what you eat. Why would one who eats no vegetables need vegetable related species

  13. Unbelieveable lie. This is why those of us who have lived with MS for many years just shake our heads at this garbage. This type of garbage is why many who live with MS struggle to find the right thing to do as they battle their MS. Too much disinformation like THIS out there!! STOP IT!! This “study” has atleast a couple thousand too few in it to merit any recognition. I personally know 4 vegetarians who developed MS far after becoming a vegetarian so just stop with this! I have lived with MS for nearly 20 years and it is hilarious how often I see bullsheet like this.

  14. The current mantra is to downgrade protein from meat….The powers to be want meat to be only eaten by the elite/or RARELY by the masses. READ what the PANDEMIC mafia has stated in the past 40 years.

  15. At what point did “Science” become whatever supports a political agenda? I guess that the allure of free research dollars have corrupted the process – along with politics.

  16. This article is pure BS, probably pushed by Bill Gates. Yea, what about all the other bastardized ingredients that the big Food Industry pushes unto the gullible consumer. David Smith and SuzzaneL have it right.

    These researchers have been eating too much “shit”.

  17. Rush Limbaugh used to make fun of all these people associating a disease with eating certain foods. For example, one could make that eating carrots causes cancer. Well, almost everyone who has had a cancer has eaten carrots at some time in their life. Or, drinking coffee causes cancer. Or artificial sweetener causes cancer. Since millions of people drink coffee or use artificial sweeteners, someone out of that group will get cancer, but get cancer anyway. Like this article, it finally admits there is not proof that meat causes MS. So, why even publish the damn article?

  18. The insanity in this study doesn’t then explain how our ancestors who survived on meat weren’t all riddled with MS. Aaaah, buried in the article: “The study was not causational, so it’s impossible to determine that meat leads to MS.”

    And yet the title says the opposite. So what did we learn from this? We learned that a study of people’s diets WHO ALREADY HAVE MS is already different from those who do not. This isn’t a mass study to trace behavior as causation to a disease, but from the description, seems to be far more likely an example of how MS causes changes in behavior.

  19. Anyone (and that’s just about everyone) who is swamped by “new” research every day should first
    read the interview with Johnb Ioannidis at this link:

    For those who are unfamiliar with the Stanford luminary, Dr. Ioannidis is the world’s leading authority on examining research.

    This is from Wikipedia:

    “Ioannidis’s 2005 paper “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False”[17] is the most downloaded paper in the Public Library of Science. In the paper, Ioannidis says that most published research does not meet good scientific standards of evidence. Ioannidis has also described the replication crisis in diverse scientific fields including genetics,[clinical trials, neuroscience, and nutrition.

    I believe I may owe my life to this guy as he stimulated me to do my own due diligence (that is, review) relative to medical research. Consequently, I was far ahead of the public in discovering Vitamin D3 could stave off the cytokine storm that killed infected Covid patients; I learned PSA tests and screening for colorectal cancer had little effect on survival, and a chemotherapeutic drug (Tamoxifen) prescribed for ER+ breast cancer did little to decrease mortality or increase survival.

    I now look at studies like this with Dr. Ioannidis’ conclusion that in excess of 90% of medical research the conclusion drawn from the study is not supported by the data, the result of data fraud, or seriously flawed research methodology. Put simply, the vast majority of research is not to be trusted until replicated and proven the study design was not flawed.

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