Compared to healthy people, women with multiple sclerosis (MS) may have inferior levels of certain antioxidants and nutrients with anti-inflammatory properties, including vitamin E and folate, according to a new study funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).
A research team led by Dr. Sandra D. Cassard of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD will present their findings during the American Academy of Neurology’s 67th Annual Meeting in Washington, DC in April.
A total of 57 women aged 18 to 60 years with a body mass index of 30 kg/m2 or less took part in the research and all underwent vitamin D supplementation. Of the total sample, 27 women had a diagnosis of MS and the remaining 30 were healthy.
Results revealed that compared to healthy controls, women with MS had lower levels of food folate, magnesium, lutein-zeaxanthin, vitamin E, and quercetin. The results showed that women with MS only take an average of 244 micrograms (mcg) per day of food folate, in contrast with healthy women who take an average of 321 mcg/daily. Since the daily recommendation is of 400 mcg/day, researchers found that both groups did not meet the recommendations. In terms of magnesium daily intake, the results showed that women with MS take on average 254 milligrams (mg) per day compared to the healthy women who ingest an average of 321mg per day, meeting the recommended daily dose of 320 mg. Researchers also found that compared to healthy controls, women with MS had a lower percentage of their daily calories from fat.
“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 study author Sandra D. Cassard, ScD, with John Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD in a recent news release. “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.”