Risk of developing motor neurone disease can be reduced by around 60 percent, by using a diet, which is high in polyunsaturated fat or vitamin E, according to a new study.
In the study, polyunsaturated fat included both omega-6 fat found abundantly in vegetable oils such as corn oil and omega 3 fat found in fish and nuts, reports foodconsumer.org.
The motor neurone diseases (MND) are a group of progressive neurological disorders that destroy motor neurons, the cells that control voluntary muscle activity such as speaking, walking, breathing, and swallowing.
In the study, researchers compared 132 patients with potential or definite amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) with 220 healthy people with a similar background, including age, sex, energy intake, weight, and smoking habit, for their dietary habits.
Participants were surveyed through a questionnaire, detailing their regular intake of a variety of nutrients including polyunsaturated fats (PUFAS), vitamin E, flavonols, calcium, lycopene and others.
Researchers found the patients with ALS consumed significantly lower amounts of PUFAS and vitamin E than the control group did while the total energy intake and consumption of dietary supplements were the same in both groups.
Specifically, those who consumed more than 32 grams of PUFAS daily were 60 percent less likely to develop ALS compared with those who took less than 25 grams, the study found.
Taking 18 to 22 mg of vitamin E daily reduced the risk of ALS by 60 percent compared with those who took 18 grams or less.
In addition, vitamin E and polyunsaturated fat seemed to work synergistically to reduce the ALS risk. The association between PUFAS/vitamin E and the risk was still significant even after other risk factors were considered. There was no association found between other nutrients and the ALS risk
Still, the study was not meat to establish a causal relation between polyunsaturated fat/vitamin E intake and the risk of motor neurone disease. High intake of PUFAS and vitamin E may probably, but not definitely have an effect on the risk of ALS. More studies are needed to confirm the observation.