In reading this journal article I found there were some interesting trends in people with Multiple Sclerosis. One, in particular, was that there was a much higher incidence of the disease in smokers; which shouldn’t come as a surprise since there seems to be a consensus that smoking is neurotoxic, and is a common trend in other autoimmune diseases. Of course I have never smoked so this doesn’t affect me. They also indicate a history of a high intake of animal fat is common in people with Multiple Sclerosis. On the other hand they note that there is a much lower incidence of Multiple Sclerosis in people who eat a large amount of fish. Since I really dislike fish, and therefore consume very little, coupled with my very high animal fat intake I was probably damned to have MS. 😉 They also go on to indicate that people who have a high intake of linoleic acid also show a much decreased incidence of EAE (experimental allergic encephalomyelitis.) Of course they mention the North South divide with regards to vitamin D and that relocating to the South in your youth drastically lowers your chance of Multiple Sclerosis; of course they didn’t put an age on that which I find highly disappointing. (Franklin & Nelson, 2003)
I’ll let this speak for itself: “Prospective studies among patients with MS have consistently shown a relationship between viral infections and exacerbations of MS, including a recent study showing a twofold increased risk of clinical relapses following symptomatic upper respiratory tract infections and a 3.4-fold increased risk of exacerbation among those with raised antiviral antibody titres.” (Franklin & Nelson, 2003)
There were also a couple of modifiable factors that were suggested. It should go without saying that stopping smoking was a major item. 😉 On the other hand there were some items that were mentioned that did impact me. They said that there is a beneficial effect of polyunsaturated fatty acids (too bad not the saturated kind since I get plenty of those 😉 They go on to clarify and say it is helpful to have a diet low in animal fat, rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin D! 🙁 I guess I’ll be sticking with my Evening Primrose Oil and Fish Oils pills until I can sufficiently alter my diet! (Franklin & Nelson, 2003)
Franklin, G. M., & Nelson, L. (2003) Environmental risk factors in multiple sclerosis: Causes, triggers, and patient autonomy. Neurology, 61, 1032-1034.