The research compared the overall diet and nutritional intake of 27 women with MS to 30 healthy ‘controls’ - finding that women who had MS had lower intake levels of five nutrients with suggested antioxidant or anti-inflammatory properties: food folate, vitamin E, magnesium, lutein-zeaxanthin and quercetin.
The data, due to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 67th Annual Meeting, showed that for food folate, the women with MS had average intake of 244 micrograms (mcg), while the healthy women had an average intake of 321 mcg.
For magnesium, the women with MS had average intake of 254 milligrams (mg), while the healthy women met the recommended daily allowance of 320 mg with an average of 321 mg.
"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 Cassard, of with John Hopkins University in Baltimore. "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."
The research also found that the women with MS also had a lower average percentage of their calories from fat than the healthy participants.