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Multiple Sclerosis Linked to Lower Levels of Key Nutrients in Women

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FRIDAY, Feb. 20, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Women with multiple sclerosis (MS) have lower levels of important antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients than those without the disease, new research finds.

"Since MS is a chronic inflammatory disorder, having enough nutrients with anti-inflammatory properties may help prevent the disease or reduce the risk of attacks for those who already have MS," study author Sandra Cassard, of John Hopkins University in Baltimore, said in a news release from the American Academy of Neurology.

The study included 27 white women with MS, aged 18 to 60, and a "control" group of 30 age-matched healthy white women.

On average, the MS patients had lower levels of five antioxidant or anti-inflammatory nutrients: folate from food, vitamin E, magnesium, lutein-zeaxanthin and quercetin.

Among the women with MS, average daily intake of food folate was 244 micrograms (mcg), compared with 321 mcg among healthy women, the study found. The recommended daily intake is 400 mcg.

Average daily magnesium intake was 254 milligrams (mg) among MS patients and 321 mg among healthy women. The recommended daily intake is 320 mg.

The women with MS also had a lower percentage of calories from fat than the healthy women, according to the study that is scheduled for presentation at the upcoming American Academy of Neurology annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

Research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

"Antioxidants are also critical to good health and help reduce the effects of other types of damage that can occur on a cellular level and contribute to neurologic diseases like MS," Cassard said. "Whether the nutritional differences that we identified in the study are a cause of MS or a result of having it is not yet clear."

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more about multiple sclerosis.

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