Dietary Factors Linked to Better -- or Worse -- Function in ALS
Among patients recently diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), those who consume foods high in antioxidant nutrients and carotenoids have better function than those with a poorer diet, according to a new study. "Foods high in antioxidants and carotenes, which are really fruits and vegetables, as well as high-fiber grains, fish, and poultry, all seem to make the disease a bit less severe," said lead study author, Jeri W Nieves, PhD, associate professor of clinical epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York City, New York. But contrary to other recent research, the ALS Multicenter Cohort Study of Oxidative Stress (ALSCOSMOS) showed that milk-derived foods appear to have a negative effect on ALS. The analysis was published online October 24 in JAMA Neurology. There's a growing interest in the role of nutrients in ALS, the researchers note. Recent evidence suggests that the ALS risk increases with higher intake of carbohydrates, glutamate, and fat and with lower intake of fruits, vegetables, vitamin E, carotenoids and certain polyunsaturated fatty acids.
@pritha To assess functional performance, investigators used the ALS Functional Rating Scale-Revised (ALSFRS-R), which is the most widely used clinical outcome in ALS clinical trials and has been extensively validated. At baseline, the median ALSFRS-R score was 37, reflecting modestly severe ALS (higher scores indicate better function). Investigators used forced vital capacity (FVC) to measure respiratory function. At baseline, the median FVC was 82%, or low normal respiratory function. (A higher FVC percentage indicates better function.) To assess diet, researchers used a shortened version of a previously validated food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). The questionnaire focused on foods and nutrients considered to be antioxidants; vitamins A, C, and E; β-carotene; calcium; iron; zinc; and selenium. There were also questions on supplement intake.