MS News Today feature Dr. Conor Kerley, MSer and Phytaphix founder

31 Days of MS: Benefits Come From Simple Lifestyle Choices


Day 14 of 31

This is Dr. Conor Kerley’s story:

My name is Conor Kerley. When I was first diagnosed with MS at age 15, my first question was: will I still be able to play sports? I was diagnosed after three major relapses in eight months and after undergoing tests. Now 33, I’ve lived over half of my life with MS.

Like most, the diagnosis was a shock to my family and me. MS struck me when I was a young athlete and student. As a kid, I didn’t know much about MS — there was no social media, so I tried to learn from books. I started injectable medication (interferon) three times a week and started to eat better and exercise again, which led to better sleep, which in turn led to a better mood.  

As I neared the end of school, I decided that I was interested in lifestyle and nutrition. In the past, nutrition was a way to fuel up for sports. However, I was beginning to appreciate that nutrition was important for overall health. I applied to study human nutrition and dietetics at Trinity College in Dublin. Since then, I have become a doctor of nutrition and founded my own company, Phytaphix.

Lifestyle factors include optimal nutrition, physical activity, healthy body weight, moderate sun exposure, good sleep habits, stress management, and not smoking. 

Research continues to highlight that all of these lifestyle factors have benefits for MS, especially for those with relapsing-remitting MS or progressive MS. We should all be trying our best to include healthy lifestyle choices as much as possible! 

MS is a horrible disease, and we will all have good days and bad days, meaning lifestyle factors may be neglected. We shouldn’t stress or beat ourselves up, but try to get back to a healthy lifestyle as soon as possible. As medicine advances, we sometimes forget about how important simple lifestyle choices can be.

Since my diagnosis, I’ve been relapse-free and symptom-free. So listen to your neurology team but also: eat those vegetables, move that body, make time for sleep and stress management, and avoid smoking. 

Multiple Sclerosis News Today’s 31 Days of MS campaign will publish one story per day for Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month in March. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more stories like this, using the hashtag #31DaysofMS, or go here to see the full series.

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