Two nutrients linked to lower risk of ALS
Large studies show as total carotenoids in the diet increase, chances of ALS decrease
by Newsletter Editor
ALS—amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a progressive condition that attacks the brain and spinal cord nerve cells that control the voluntary muscles. Doctors believe oxidative stress may play a role.
Researchers reviewed five large studies involving 1,093 people with ALS out of 1,053,575 men and women. Researchers calculated nutrients in the diet from questionnaires participants filled out the prior year, including detailed information on multi-vitamins, and the antioxidant vitamins C, E, and beta-carotene.
Doctors discovered a link: as total carotenoids in the diet increased, chances of ALS decreased. Those who got the most carotenoids were 25 percent less likely to develop ALS compared to those who got the least.
Doctors said that, compared to those with the lowest, those with high carotenoid levels tended to exercise more, be more educated, and to take vitamin C and E supplements.
This study followed 29,127 Finnish male smokers, aged 50 to 59, who took a placebo, 75 IU of alpha-tocopherol vitamin E per day, or 33,340 IU of beta-carotene per day. After 16.7 years of follow up, 50 men had developed ALS.
While there was no link to beta-carotene levels or supplements, those who had taken vitamin E were 25 percent less likely to have developed ALS compared to those who did not take vitamin E. Also, compared to those with lower levels, those who had circulating levels of vitamin E higher than the average 11.5 mg per liter of blood were 44 percent less likely to have developed ALS.