Mediterranean Diet Offers Promise for Older Multiple Sclerosis Patients, Study Reveals

by Ella

A recent study suggests that older adults grappling with multiple sclerosis (MS) may experience reduced disability and enhanced quality of life by adhering to a Mediterranean diet regimen. The findings unveil the Mediterranean diet as a potentially impactful nutritional intervention capable of mitigating disease progression and alleviating symptom severity among MS patients.

Published in Aging Clinical and Experimental Research, the study titled “Association of Mediterranean diet adherence with disease progression, quality of life and physical activity, sociodemographic and anthropometric parameters, and serum biomarkers in community-dwelling older adults with multiple sclerosis: a cross-sectional study” underscores the profound influence of diet on health. Although no specific dietary guidelines exist for individuals with MS, maintaining a balanced and nutritious diet constitutes a cornerstone of disease management for many.


The Mediterranean diet, inspired by culinary traditions prevalent in regions surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, such as Greece and southern Italy, emphasizes the consumption of olive oil as a primary fat source, abundant vegetables, legumes, fish, and poultry, while advocating minimal intake of red meat and sweets.


Despite its perceived benefits, scant empirical evidence exists regarding the impact of the Mediterranean diet on MS patients, particularly among older demographics. To address this knowledge gap, a team of researchers from Greece conducted a comprehensive survey involving 227 individuals aged over 65 with MS but devoid of other major health ailments. The majority of participants hailed from Caucasian backgrounds, predominantly of Greek descent, with women constituting approximately three-quarters of the cohort, and about one-third identifying as regular smokers.


Participants underwent dietary assessments alongside standardized evaluations encompassing disability status, quality of life, demographic profiles, and lifestyle behaviors. Subsequent statistical analyses aimed to discern significant disparities between patients adhering to Mediterranean dietary patterns and those diverging from such norms.


The results unveiled a compelling association between heightened adherence to the Mediterranean diet and diminished disability levels, coupled with enhanced quality of life. This correlation suggests that embracing the Mediterranean diet may engender tangible improvements in the daily well-being of MS patients.

However, while patients adhering to a Mediterranean-style diet tended to exhibit reduced disability and improved life quality, causality remains elusive. The researchers underscored the need for further investigations to elucidate whether these observed benefits stem directly from dietary habits or are influenced by confounding factors such as age disparities or additional unexplored variables like psychiatric conditions.

Nonetheless, the study underscores the potential of a Mediterranean-style diet as a complementary therapeutic approach to augment conventional drug therapies for MS. Moving forward, the researchers advocate for meticulously designed intervention studies to comprehensively assess the efficacy of the Mediterranean diet in fostering well-being among older adults grappling with MS.



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