People with MS may have lower levels of certain nutrients

According to a newly released study that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 67th Annual Meeting in Washington, DC this April, women with multiple sclerosis (MS) may have lower levels of important antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients, such as folate and vitamin E, than healthy people. This study was supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

In this study, researchers selected 27 Caucasian women with MS and compared them to 30 Caucasian women ages 18-60. The participants reported their diet and nutrition over the previous year prior to starting vitamin D supplementation.

On average, the women with MS had lower levels of folate, vitamin E, magnesium, lutein, zeaxanthin and quercetin, all nutrients with antioxidant or anti-inflammatory properties. The women with MS had average folate consumption of 244 mcg, while the healthy women’s average consumption was 321 mcg (RDA is 400 mcg). In addition, the women with MS had an average magnesium consumption of 254 mg, while the healthy women averaged 321 mg. Also, those with MS had a lower average percentage of their calories from fat than the healthy women.
MS is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disorder, and it is important to assess the nutrient status of the patient. Many specialty labs can do this through organic acids, RBC nutrients, serum fat-soluble vitamins, and plasma fatty acid profiles. Having adequate nutrients may help prevent MS or reduce the risk of attacks for those who already have the condition. Antioxidants are essential to optimal health and reduce the effects of other types of damage that can occur on a cellular level and contribute to neurologic diseases like MS.

As with all autoimmune diseases, it is important to assess gastrointestinal health. We know that pathogenic cells disrupt the intestines. A leaky gut enables harmful bacteria and toxic substances in the body to enter the intestine, which creates even more inflammation. Current research supports that a damaged intestinal barrier can prevent the body ending an autoimmune reaction in the normal manner leading to a chronic disease. Therefore, MS treatment should also be focused on the GI system by repairing and restoring the intestinal barrier.