It is important to avoid anything that can cause further damage to your brain or spinal cord

MS is a condition that causes damage to your brain and spinal cord. As such, it is important to avoid anything that can do further damage. There are some changes you can make to help keep your brain as healthy as possible.

Be careful with how much alcohol you drink

People with MS who drink unsafe amounts of alcohol tend not to live as long as people with MS who consume safe amounts of alcohol.1 In addition, symptoms such as imbalance or a lack of coordination can get worse after drinking alcohol, and alcohol can further increase the urgency and frequency of needing to urinate.2


Avoid smoking

Compared to people with MS who do not smoke, those who do smoke tend to have a smaller brain volume, relapse more often, have more disability, have more cognitive problems and don’t live as long.1 Additional benefits of quitting smoking include:2

  • Improved MS symptoms and relapses
  • Slowed rate or progression
  • Improved general health and reduced risk of developing diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer
  • Saving money.


Eat healthy

Eat healthy to keep your weight under control. Although there is no concrete evidence regarding the impact of nutrition on MS, it has been shown that people who are obese tend to have more brain lesions compared to people who are a healthy weight.1 A healthy diet has health benefits beyond MS symptoms.1


Keep fit and active

Keeping as fit and active as you can with exercise, and keeping your mind as active and engaged as possible through education, reading and hobbies will help keep your brain as healthy as possible.1

Listen to Jemma share how she keeps healthy.

Watch this video on some simple ways to optimise your brain health

The information in this embedded video has been developed by the author(s) of the video. Novartis has not been involved in the creation of this content. The intent of providing this material is informational and not as advice. Any information provided by this source should be discussed with your healthcare professional and does not replace their advice.


  • MS Australia. Brain health: A guide for people with multiple sclerosis. (last update May 2017).
  • National MS Society. Unhealthy habits. (date of last update not specified).