Low Levels of key Nutrients Being Blamed for MS

BALTIMORE, Md. — New indications are that low levels of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients play a major role in the development of multiple sclerosis in women.

Those nutrients, food folate, vitamin E, magnesium, lutein-zeaxanthin and quercetin, were the components missing in patients diagnosed with MS, according to the study presented by researchers from Johns Hopkins University at the American Academy of Neurology’s 67th annual meeting.

Women with MS, the study said, had an average intake of 244 micrograms, while healthy women had 321 mg.

The research also indicated women with MS had lower than average percentages of their calories from fat when compared to healthy subjects.

Antioxidants are critical to health and help reduce cellular-level damage that contribute to neurologic diseases such as MS.

The study’s author said having enough nutrients with anti-inflammatory properties may help prevent the disease or reduce the risk of attacks for those who already have it, although whether the nutritional differences identified in the study are a cause of MS or a result of having it is not clear.

Dr. Ren Bedell, ND, who practices in sun-rich Tempe, Ariz., said “Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune condition that can develop in the same way most autoimmune conditions develop …  due to some malfunction, the immune system can start targeting the body’s own healthy cells as if they do not belong there.”

He said there are many reasons why this could happen such as molecular mimicry, a recent infection, GI inflammation, stress, and nutrient deficiency. Bedell adds that he already uses the wisdom gleaned in this study.

“This research is looking at diets deficient in antioxidants and rich in pro-inflammatory foods in their role of MS. When it comes to autoimmune conditions, this is one of the first factors I look at,” he said. “Antioxidants are incredibly important as they prevent free radicals from causing harm. Free radicals are highly reactive and can damage DNA leading to cellular malfunction.”

Bedell adds that a deficiency in antioxidants can lead to several autoimmune conditions, and that most people aren’t eating the right foods today.

“Antioxidants are highest in vegetables and fruits, which are often lacking in a typical diet,” he said. “Avoid inflammatory foods.”

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