Her presentation at the Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS) Forum 2020, held in Florida on Feb. 27–29, was titled “Caloric restriction and dietary interventions in MS.“
Diet, Obesity and MS
Mowry opened her talk with an overview of studies finding a link between healthier food choices and lower MS risk.
One that compared dietary patterns in adults with MS and healthy people in Australia (the Ausimmune Study) concluded that people who ate a Mediterranean diet — allowing for about one daily serving (65 g) of unprocessed red meat — were less likely to be diagnosed with MS. Eating more fish, particularly canned fish, also appeared to lower the chances of this disease.
Fish was seen as a good food choice in other work as well. A preliminary study of dietary habits in 1,153 people associated high consumption of fatty fish (one serving/week or 1–3 servings/month, plus daily fish oil supplements) with 45% lower odds of developing clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) or MS, compared to a diet poor in fish (less than once a month) and no fish oil supplements.
Omega-3 fatty acids, unsaturated fats abundant in seafood and flaxseed, could be responsible for this protective effect, although more data is needed.
Not all research supports healthier foods influencing MS risk. Data on more than 185,000 women participating in the Nurses‘ Health Study I and II found no meaningful link between diet quality and a person’s propensity for MS.
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