Fatty diet may boost relapse risk in kids

October 11, 2017
According to a new study, a fatty diet may increase the risk of a relapse in kids with multiple sclerosis by as much as 56 percent, with saturated fat linked to a tripling in risk. On the other hand, high vegetable intake may cut the risk of relapse in half.
Researchers, led by Dr. Emmanuelle Waubant, of the Department of Neurology at the University of California San Francisco, analyzed the diets of 219 youths from 11 children's MS centers across the U.S. Each of them had been diagnosed before the age of 18 and had the relapsing-remitting form of MS or clinically isolated syndrome for less than four years.
Analysis of the diet data showed that every 10 percent increase in calorie intake derived from fat was associated with a 56 percent heightened risk of a relapse, much of which seemed to be driven by saturated fat intake: every 10 percent increase in calories from this source was associated with a tripling in the risk of a relapse. On the other hand, each additional cup of vegetables eaten was associated with a halving in risk of relapse, independent of fat consumption.
The findings held true, even after vitamin D levels and other potentially influential factors, such as age, gender, race, ethnicity, duration of disease, weight and drug treatment had been taken into account. The researchers explain that a high fat diet boosts cell metabolism, including the release of inflammatory chemicals, as well as influencing the gut microbiome and associated immunity. And animal fat is often linked to a high calorie intake – itself a factor implicated in various long term inflammatory conditions. A diet rich in vegetables has the opposite effect, they point out.
This is an observational study so no firm conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect. However, researchers said the findings provide some evidence for making dietary recommendations for patients with MS.
The findings were published online in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.

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