Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurodegenerative demyelinating disease, that is, with lesions affecting the central nervous system. Classified and recognized for the first time in 1868 by the French neurologist J.M Charcot, clinical and experimental evidence indicates that at the base of MS, the immune system reacts with attacking myelin T.
Over the recent years, research has made important discoveries about a pathology we might call “complex”, precisely because of the many different ways and forms in which it tends to reveal itself.
Although there is still no known cure for permanently eradicating the disease, studies have led to the identification of different approaches that contribute to improve the quality of life of people with MS.
The relevance of nutrition in people with multiple sclerosis.
Diet plays an important role in patients with multiple sclerosis. A nutritionally balanced diet and the choice of certain types of food help support the central nervous system.
A recent study, published in the prestigious scientific journal Cell Reports and led by Professor Valter Longo, highlights the combination that exists between the two factors.
Research and inquiry method on murine models
As Professor Longo says in his book “The Diet of Longevity”, in early experiments on mice, fasting activates stem cells in the blood, which in turn can generate cells of various types of the immune system.
It was necessary to understand if the “new” cells were also intended to become autoimmune. The idea aimed at feeding the mice with a type of diet imitating the effects of fasting and leading to the regeneration of healthy cells, first by destroying the damaged cells. The results were surprising!
The reduction of symptoms is remarkable, in particular the reduction of the percentage of harmful autoimmune components, that bring about an anatomical and harmful alteration in the affected part.
In 50% of the mice, a sharp decrease in symptoms was observed; while in 20% of them, complete remission occurred. FMD has regenerated damaged myelin in the spinal cord, i.e. the coating of neurons allowing the correct transmission of impulses from our nervous system.
Clinical trials on humans
Establishing the potential effectiveness of the FMD in patients suffering MS was possible through a pilot study of 60 participants.
The first group followed the FMD meal program for 7 days and over the next six months, a plant-based diet; the others a ketogenic diet, and some did not change their feeding style.
The researchers assessed the quality of life of patients in the fasting mimicking diet cycle, with obvious improvements in physical and mental health.
Although the results are encouraging, Professor Longo said it was necessary to confirm them in the context of more thorough research on a larger number of patients.
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Article written by: Francesca Florenzo