Low Fat Diet May Ease Fatigue Associated With MS

shutterstock_61147504New research indicates that multiple sclerosis patients who eat a plant-based low fat diet for a year experience lesser MS-related fatigue symptoms at the end of the year compared to MS patients who do not follow a similar diet. The findings were recently presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in Philadelphia.

Fatigue can be a debilitating symptom that many people with MS have to go through. Being able to minimize fatigue symptoms can significantly improve the quality of life for many people living under the shadow of multiple sclerosis. Researchers from Oregon Health & Science University investigated a type of diet called the McDougall Diet. It was a diet developed by John MacDougall M.D. characterized by its low saturated fat content and focuses on fruits, vegetables and starches. The said diet does not include the consumption of fish, meat or dairy products.

The study, which was first conducted in 2008, involved 53 people with relapsing-remitting MS who were able to complete the said study. This included 22 participants who followed the McDougall diet and 27 people in the control group. The participants maintained their diet for a period of 12 months. The researchers also took note of a number of MS indicators and symptoms, including relapse rate, body weight, disabilities caused by the disease, cholesterol levels and the brain lesions observed from MRI scans.

The study indicated that there was no significant difference between both groups when it comes to the number of MS-caused brain lesions that was detected on MRI scans. There was also no difference on the relapse rate as well as the level of disability reported in both study groups. However, participants who followed the McDougall Diet lost more weight and had lower cholesterol levels. The participants who followed the diet also generally reported a better quality of life and overall mood.

Given that the sample size for the said study was relatively small, further study involving a larger number of participants may be needed to better understand how diet may affect fatigue and other symptoms associated with MS.

Source: Oregon Health & Science University. (2014, May 1). Low-fat diet helps fatigue in people with MS, study shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 7, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140501101121.htm

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