Research: VELDINK and colleagues,

Listed in Issue 148

Abstract

VELDINK and colleagues, Department of Neurology, Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience, University Medical Center Utrecht, G.03.228, PO Box 85500, 3508 GA Utrecht, The Netherlands,  j.h.veldink@umcutrecht.nl, report that essential fatty acids and vitamin E together reduce the risk of developing motor neurone disease.

Background

The aim of this study was to assess whether the dietary intake of fatty acids, cholesterol, glutamate or antioxidants was associated with the risk of developing amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a form of motor neurone disease.

Methodology

Patients who had definite, probable or possible ALS were enrolled in a case-control study (132 patients and 220 healthy controls). A food-frequency questionnaire was used to assess dietary intake for the nutrients of interest. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed with adjustment for confounding factors (sex, age, level of education, energy intake, body mass index and smoking).

Results

A high intake of polyunsaturated fatty acid and vitamin E was significantly associated with a reduced risk of developing ALS (polyunsaturated fatty acid: odds ratio = 0.4, p = 0.001; vitamin E: odds ratio = 0.4, p = 0.001). Polyunsaturated fatty acid and vitamin E appeared to act synergistically, because in a combined analysis the trend odds ratio for vitamin E was further reduced from 0.67 to 0.37 (p = 0.02), and that for polyunsaturated fatty acid from 0.60 to 0.26 (p = 0.005), with a significant interaction term (p = 0.03). The intake of flavonols, lycopene, vitamin C, vitamin B2, glutamate, calcium or phytoestrogens was not associated with the risk of developing ALS.

Conclusion

A high intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E is associated with a 50-60% decreased risk of developing ALS, and these nutrients appear to act synergistically.

References

Veldink JH et al. Intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E reduces the risk of developing amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry 78 (4): 367-371, Apr 2007.

Comment

The results from the above two studies demonstrate a positive results from omeg-3 fatty acids with vitamin E upon autism and also upon risk of developing ALS, a form of motor neurone disease. The results from these studies which we report every month, are, in my view, a truer reflection of the value of taking supplements than the sensational and perhaps manipulative tabloid headlines reporting that taking antioxidants could increase mortality.

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