Antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables are linked to better function in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), according to a study from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. Dietary intakes and disease severity were monitored in 302 patients with ALS. Results showed that those patients who consumed the most antioxidants and carotenoids from vegetables and fruits scored highest on tests for ability to function. Milk and lunch meats were associated with lower measures of function or more severe disease symptoms. The researchers conclude that “….nutrition plays a role both in triggering the disease and why it progresses. For this reason. ALS patients should eat foods high in antioxidants and carotenes, as well as high fiber grains, fish, and poultry.”
In Perspective: ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a severe neurodegenerative disorder that causes atrophy, paralysis, and eventually respiratory failure. Average survival for ALS patients ranges from 20 to 48 months, although up to 20% of patients live longer than 10 years.
Nieves J, Gennings C, Factor-Litvak P, et al: Association between dietary intake and function in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. JAMA Neurology 2016; October 24th.