Women with multiple sclerosis (MS) have lower levels of important antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients than those without the disease, new research finds.
“Since MS is a chronic inflammatory disorder, having enough nutrients with anti-inflammatory properties may help prevent the disease or reduce the risk of attacks for those who already have MS,” study author Sandra Cassard, of John Hopkins University in Baltimore, said in a news release from the American academy of Neurology.
The study included 27 white women with MS, aged 18 to 60, and a “control” group of 30 age-matched healthy white women.
On average, the MS patients had lower levels of five antioxidant or anti-inflammatory nutrients: folate, vitamin E, magnesium, lutein-zeaxanthin and quercetin.
Among the women with MS, average daily intake of food folate was 244 mcg, compared with 321 mcg among healthy women, the study found. The recommended daily intake is 400 mcg.
Average daily magnesium intake was 254 mg among MS patients and 321 mg among health women. The recommended daily intake is 320 mg.
The women with MS also had a lower percentage of calories from fat than the healthy women, according to the study that is scheduled for presentation at the upcoming American Academy of Neurology annual meeting in Washington, D.C.
Research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
“Antioxidants are also critical to good health and help reduce the effects of other types of damage that can occur on a cellular level and contribute to neurologic diseases like MS,” Cassard said. “Whether the nutritional differences that we identified in the study are a cause of MS or a result of having it is not yet clear.”
MS is not only a chronic inflammatory disorder; it is an auto-immune disease. The immune system attacks the myelin sheath that covers and protects the peripheral nervous system. That myelin sheath is composed of phospholipids – fat. I have long suspected that the decrease in healthy fat in this country over the past 40 years is a predisposing factor for chronic inflammatory disease.
Inflammation is the first factor that must be addressed in virtually all health issues. Nutritional evaluation begins with evaluating the essential fatty acid pathways. This includes not only the fats themselves, but the cofactors – vitamin B6 magnesium.
Then we look at cytokine and leukotriene inflammation facilitated through the immune system.
Histamine inflammation is the next inflammatory pathway. Folate, vitamin B6 and B12, and quercetin are all evaluated here.
However, MS has its origins in chronic inflammation of the gut. Once the epithelial lining of the digestive tract fails to regenerate every 24 to 36 hours, leaky gut develops and undigested food, viral particles, and bacteria make their way into the blood stream. This triggers an immune response, which can eventually attack the myelin sheath resulting in MS. If, however, the immune system attacks the joints, we call that rheumatoid arthritis (RA). If it’s the bowel, that’s Crohn’s disease. Attack the thyroid and we call it Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. They are all the same disease and all related to chronic inflammation and nutritional deficiencies.
Folate (folic acid) and the bio-available form, 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF), are the key to cell reproduction in the gut. This is an important nutrient in the pathogenesis of MS.
The Bottom Line:
This is great early research into the connection between nutrition and disease. Ongoing research will reinforce the concept that nutritional deficiencies are linked to most if not all disease processes.
Source: February 20 2015 National Institutes of Health