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Monday, September 4, 2017

Current Evidence about Diet and MS

     By:Pavan Bhargava, MD

Introduction Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic immune-mediated demyelinating disorder that affects the central nervous system (CNS). In MS, inflammatory cells of the immune system (including T cells, B cells and others) are believed to target cells and tissues within the CNS, causing inflammation and damage to myelin, nerve fibers and the cells that make myelin. Several genetic and environmental factors that influence the risk for developing MS have now been identified. Perhaps the most significant dietary factor that has been linked with the occurrence of MS and its disease course is vitamin D. 1,2 Another recent dietary factor associated with autoimmunity is high salt intake. 3 Ongoing research is also demonstrating a link between the gut microbiota (bacteria in our gut) and MS. 4 Diet plays an important role in shaping our gut microbiota and is also implicated in multiple other chronic diseases (type 2 diabetes, obesity, hypertension). There is increasing interest in the possible role of diet in autoimmunity and in the role of dietary interventions in diseases such as MS.

Possible mechanisms by which diet may have an effect on MS -

1. Direct effects on the immune system: 
Recent immunological research has shown that metabolism plays an important role in the function of several types of immune cells. Additionally several immune cells have receptors (surface structures that allow cells to connect and communicate with other cells) for various types of dietary metabolites (vitamin D, fatty acids). Thus intake of certain types of fats has been linked to greater inflammation while intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) has the opposite effect.

Indirect effects through modulation of the gut flora:
The gut bacteria metabolize certain components of the diet into short chain fatty acids that, besides helping in colonic health, can also act on immune cells and make T cells more regulatory.
 Additionally diet can lead to alterations in the gut bacterial composition that can shift the immune system towards a pro- or antiinflammatory state.

 Effects on components of the central nervous system: 
As mentioned above, since altered metabolism may play a role in the adaptation of the nervous system to damage, various experimental foods and diets are being studied for

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By: Sarah Skolnik
    July 2017

Living with MS is difficult enough, let alone living with MS and trying to follow what is and is not good for you considering there are many studies and articles that constantly contradict one another. In order to navigate certain nutrition facts, MS Cure Fund paired up with a nutritionist in Southern California, Sarah Skolnik (Nutrition by Sarah), to provide some snacks with insight.

1. Baby Carrots, Celery and Hummus
Baby Carrots are beneficial for patients with MS due to it's high nutrient content of Vitamins A, C, K and many others. Carrots are known to regulate blood pressure, help boost the immune system (essential for people who with MS), aids in digestion, as well as macular degeneration. Carrots have a very high amount of beta- carotene which has shown to reduce the risk of stroke. 
Celery is very useful for MS patients. It has a high Potassium and water content which can help with dehydration. The fact that it helps with inflammation sells itself primary because most people with MS have inflammatory issues. The reason I recommend these veggies with Hummus is because hummus is loaded with Protein and Fiber, essential for a well-balanced diet. hummus usually contain some vitamins and antioxidants and is generally a great health alternative to salad dressings that contain high amounts of sodium and fat. 

2. Avocados
Ahh the good ole' Avocado! beneficial to everyone who eats them but especially useful in creating a healthy diet for MS patients. The avocado contains monounsaturated and poly unsaturated fats along with a plether of other vitamins and minerals. It is crucial for MS patients to deviate from foods that are high in saturated fats because this can cause more harm to their bodies. These benefits of avocados alone help aid in heart healthy, inflammation and overall metabolic health. I believe that this is a great go to for a quick snack or even to add to a salad or with some veggies. 

3. Walnuts and Almonds (Trail Mix)
Trail Mix and nuts in general also hold an enormous amount of fiber, monounsaturated and poly unsaturated fats that are beneficial to inflammation and reducing cholesterol. That's why they are one of my favorite snacks to recommend to clients. Oftentimes, mobility is an issue with MS patients and therefore, their lack of mobility causes them to have weak muscles and heart troubles. Eating a well-balanced diet can greatly reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke and help relieve the debilitating effects of Multiple Sclerosis. I usually purchase my trail mix and nuts from Trader Joe's, however any food store is fine. The thing to make sure of is that their is not added sugar or salt and that the nuts weren't processed. 

5. Plain Unsweetened Yogurt with Fruit
The great thing about this snack is that you can dress it up however you'd like. Plain unsweetened yogurt itself, contains a vast amount of Protein, Calcium, the B Vitamins, Potassium and Magnesium. You can add extra fruit as you wish from bananas to strawberries to mangoes to antelope to grapes. Both Greek and Regular yogurt are great for the body and over health. The best thing about unsweetened yogurt is you don't have to worry about artificial flavoring or sugar - which can lead to extra inflammation. 

6. Rice Cakes with Almond Butter
Whole Grain rice cakes offers a large amount of fiber and many beneficial nutrients. They are usually fat free and low in calories and sugar so they are an excellent choice for a quick on the go snack. It is critical for make sure you choose a plain brand so that you don't have too much added sodium or flavors. The reason why I like to recommend almond butter on this snack is because just like the nuts in the trail mix, the almond butter provided a great source of heart healthy fats that provide energy and phytochemicals that help prevent cancer. 

7. Dried Fruit
Many people with Multiple Sclerosis experience constipation and bowel issues due to changes in the central nervous system. I highly recommend dried fruits primarily because many are loaded with nutrients. You usually get a snack that is high in fiber - aiding with the constipation, high in antioxidants - preventing cancer and other diseases and have little to no fat. Figs, apples and apricots are just some of the many availability readily in most store
 Article source found here
Nutrition by Sarah Media:

MS Views and News is MAKING an IMPACT for those, affected by Multiple Sclerosis
MS Views and News provides beneficial Multiple Sclerosis education, information, resources and services.