Antioxidant Nutrients May Help..?

There’s some evidence that the damage to a nerve’s fatty sheath, associated with MS, is caused by what is known as oxidative injury. That damage, also called lipid (fat) peroxidation, occurs because unstable molecules called free radicals steal electrons from the healthy molecules in this fatty covering, causing breakdown and scarring that eventually destroys the nerve. Free radicals can be generated by attacking immune cells. They also occur when the body is exposed to certain toxic chemicals. Researchers in Chicago found that people experiencing MS attacks had significantly higher levels of pentane, a by-product of lipid peroxidation, in their breath than they did when their symptoms were in remission.

“Our findings very much support the theory that the mechanism for destruction in MS is associated with free radicals,” says Edwin Zarling, M.D., associate professor of medicine at Loyola University of Chicago Stritch School of Medicine in Maywood, Illinois, and a researcher for the Cook County Hospital study. “Our work shows that antioxidants should be tried for MS.” Studies have yet to be done that show antioxidants help people with MS, he adds.

Because of these findings, some doctors recommend that their patients with MS take the array of so-called antioxidant nutrients, which neutralize free radicals by offering up their own electrons, protecting your body’s healthy molecules from harm. These nutrients include vitamins C and E, beta-carotene and the mineral selenium. Amounts recommended can vary widely.

“I recommend taking at least 500 milligrams of vitamin C two to four times a day and 100 micrograms of selenium and 800 international units of vitamin E once a day,” says Mary Dan Eades, M.D., medical director of the Arkansas Center for Health and Weight Control in Little Rock and author of The Doctor’s Guide to Vitamins and Minerals.

It’s a good idea to check with your doctor before taking more than 600 international units of vitamin E a day. Vitamin C in doses exceeding 1,200 milligrams a day can cause diarrhea in some people.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. maggsbunny
    Jun 05, 2008 @ 21:39:35

    Very interesting research, as usual! I feel inspired to go and scratch around in my box of vitamins and take my antioxidants right now ;-)


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