A “prudent” diet rich in fresh fruit, non-fried fish, whole grains, vegetables, and nuts may lower the likelihood of a relapse in people with a first demyelinating event, a major risk factor for multiple sclerosis (MS), a study in Australia suggests.
While the researchers did not find a strong link between such a healthy diet and conversion from clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) to MS, their findings suggest this diet choice may help to prevent clinical progression.
The study, “High Prudent diet factor score predicts lower relapse hazard in early multiple sclerosis,” was published in the Multiple Sclerosis Journal.
Increasing evidence suggests that adopting a healthy diet may lower the risk of MS onset or its progression. However, most studies have focused on specific foods and nutrients, disregarding the potential influence of a person’s total diet, and the food combinations making up meals.
A case-controlled study in almost 700 people, called the Australian Multi-center Study of Environment and Immune Function or AusImmune study, evaluated the effects of dietary patterns, instead of single foods or nutrients, on the risk of a demyelinating event — which marks myelin damage, a classic first MS symptom.
AusImmune data, collected between 2003 and 2006, showed that people who ate a healthy diet — high in poultry, fish, eggs, vegetables, and legumes — were less likely to have such an event and be diagnosed with MS.
However, the potential association between dietary patterns and MS progression remains to be explored.
To fill this gap, researchers in Australia analyzed five-year data from the AusImmune Longitudinal (AusLong) study, which is following AusImmune’s participants over time and investigating risk factors for early MS progression in those with a first demyelinating event.
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