One year of a vegetable-rich diet — combined with exercise, neuromuscular stimulation, and stress reduction techniques — is effective in easing fatigue in people with progressive multiple sclerosis (MS). Researchers say the results may be linked to changes in blood fat levels, in particular cholesterol.
If confirmed in larger studies, screening for these fat (lipid) biomarkers may prove useful for guiding treatment decisions targeting fatigue in people with MS, a study shows.
The study, “Lipid profile is associated with decreased fatigue in individuals with progressive multiple sclerosis following a diet-based intervention: Results from a pilot study,” was published in the journal PLOS ONE.
Cholesterol is essential for the proper working of cells, and for making important hormones and vitamins, as well as bile acids needed in digestion. It can be produced by the liver or obtained in foods, such as meat and dairy products. In the body, cholesterol is distributed through several components, namely LDL, HDL, and VLDL (very low-density lipoprotein).
LDL is often called “bad” cholesterol because it can build up on artery walls, increasing the risk of heart disease. Conversely, HDL is known as the “good” cholesterol because it carries lipoproteins from other parts of the body back to the liver to be removed. This keeps the cholesterol from building up in the arteries.
Now, a team from the University of Iowa conducted a pilot trial (NCT01381354) to explore whether one year of a diet-based lifestyle intervention could significantly ease fatigue and improve walking, balance, and quality of life in people with primary or secondary progressive MS.
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