Multiple sclerosis is a disease involving chronic inflammation. Could it be that anti-inflammatory nutrients – or a lack thereof – play a role in who develops this disease? Surely, the cure to this disease is not as simplistic as consuming abundant amounts of certain vitamins and minerals, but there are interesting developments in some small studies that suggest a connection of some kind between diet and disease.
At an upcoming American Academy of Neurology annual meeting in Washington, D.C., researchers plan to share results from a small observational study showing that women with multiple sclerosis (MS) have lower levels of a few key anti-inflammatory nutrients, as compared to a control group of healthy women.
The diets of 27 women with MS were compared to that of 30 women without this disease, as well as blood levels of many nutrients. Five nutrients emerged as potentially problematic in the MS group: folate (a form of folic acid), vitamin E, magnesium, lutein-zeaxanthin, and quercetin. All of these nutrients have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
This study, which was supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, led the researchers to wonder if the lower levels of anti-inflammatory nutrients could have a role in MS, either by helping prevent the disease or lessening its severity.
Keeping in mind that this was a small study, these results should be taken cautiously. Perhaps with follow-up research the relationship of anti-inflammatory nutrients to MS will be clarified or confirmed. In the meantime, a colorful diet based on a wide variety of nutrient-rich foods (especially fruits and vegetables) remains a healthy choice for everyone.
Press release. People with multiple sclerosis may have lower levels of key nutrients. American Academy of Neurology February 19, 2015.