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Study: Women With Multiple Sclerosis May Have Lower Levels of Key Nutrients

Subjects are deficient in nutrients with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties

A new study suggests that women with multiple sclerosis (MS) may have lower levels of important antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients, such as folate from food and vitamin E, than healthy people. The findings will be presented at the 67th annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, which is scheduled to be held April 18–25 in Washington, D.C.

For the study, researchers identified 27 Caucasian women with MS and compared them with 30 healthy Caucasian women between the ages of 18 and 60 years and with a body mass index of less than or equal to 30 kg/m2. The participants reported on their diet and nutrition during the previous year before starting vitamin D supplementation.

On average, the women with MS had lower levels of five nutrients with antioxidant or anti-inflammatory properties: food folate, vitamin E, magnesium, lutein-zeaxanthin, and quercetin.

For food folate, the women with MS had an average intake of 244 mcg, whereas the healthy women had an average intake of 321 mcg. The recommended daily allowance is 400 mcg. For magnesium, the women with MS had average intake of 254 mg, whereas the healthy women met the recommended daily allowance of 320 mg, with an average of 321 mg.

The women with MS also obtained a lower average percentage of their calories from fat compared with the healthy participants.

“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,” said the study’s author, Sandra D. Cassard, ScD, of John Hopkins University. “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. 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.”

The study was supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Source: AAN; February 19, 2015.

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