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Tuesday, February 11, 2020

An important clue on the role of diet in MS?

New research from a team of researchers from McGill University, Canada, have made a link between reducing the amount of methionine (an amino acid found in animal products) in a person's diet and development and progression of MS and other disorders.

The very fact that you are reading this likely means that you have heard about and/or are interested in the role of lifestyle interventions as a way of managing MS. 
Dating back to the pioneering research of Prof. Roy Swank in the 1940’s on the role of fats in MS progression, corroborated by more recent large-scale studies from around the globe, not to mention Prof. Jelinek’s vital work at the NEU, we know that diet and lifestyle play an enormous part in the prevention and the progression of this condition.
Further papers, published in the past two years have begun to unpick the key mechanisms behind diet qualityfasting, obesity and blood lipid levels and their effects on MS relapse rates and disability progression. 
But yet, there is still much work to be done. There is conflicting evidence on which, if any, dietary strategy works best to prevent and treat MS, and doctors generally remain extremely skeptical of lifestyle-based interventions. One of the issues is that the fundamental mechanisms underpinning this disease still evade us, and it can sometimes feel (from the outside at least) like scientists are feeling around for that elusive key in the dark.

Perhaps though, they have now found one? 

A team of researchers from McGill University, Canada, have just published a paper demonstrating a potential pathway for the essential amino acid (meaning it cannot be made by the body, but rather must be consumed in our diet) methionine in the management of MS. 

Methionine is a key building block of many proteins in the body and is known have a significant role in regulation of the immune system (an important clue!). T-cells (a type of white blood cell known to be involved in the immune attack of myelin in MS) require high levels of the amino acid to activate and to change into the types of cell that then seek out and attack a target.  The theory then would be that reducing consumption will reduce the levels of methionine in the blood available for T-cells, which in turn would reduce the inflammatory response. 

“Ok, makes sense,” I hear you say, "but will it actually work?" 


CLICK here to continue

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