Reaching for brightly colored foods high in antioxidants may help ward off or slow ALS naturally.
ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a devastating progressive neurodegenerative disease that causes atrophy, paralysis, and eventually respiratory failure. Also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, it affects thousands of Americans.
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Foods that are high in antioxidant nutrients and carotenoids may slow ALS, according to a Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health study published in JAMA Neurology in 2016.
"It appears that nutrition plays a role both in triggering the disease and why it progresses," said Jeri W. Nieves, PhD, a co-author of the study. "For this reason, ALS patients should eat foods high in antioxidants and carotenes, as well as high fiber grains, fish, and poultry."
A 2013 study published by Wiley in Annals of Neurology, had similar results, finding that eating foods high in carotenoids, particularly beta-carotene and lutein, may delay or prevent ALS.
Carotenoids are plant pigments that give fruits and vegetables bright red, orange and yellow colors and serve as a source of Vitamin A.
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In a 2014 study, researchers led by Dr. Anne-Marie Wills at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston found that diets high in calories and carbohydrates may slow progression of ALS, Medical News Today reported.
"Although the sample size was small, we are optimistic about these results, because they are consistent with previous studies in ALS mouse models that showed that hypercaloric diets improve survival," Wills said, according to Medical News Today.
Many people turn to herbal remedies and supplements, including creatine, Vitamin E and Co-enzyme Q10, to help slow ALS. The ALS Association recommends caution. While it's reasonable to think plants and natural products might be beneficial, many of these products are untested and could offer little to no benefit, Dr. Edward Kasarskis said, according to the ALS Association.
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