- Recent research suggests that consuming omega-3 rich foods like flaxseed oil and walnuts may help slow down the progression of ALS and potentially improve survival rates.
- The study tracked the health progress of 449 ALS patients over 18 months, monitoring various physical function domains.
- The most beneficial omega-3 fatty acid discovered was alpha-linolenic acid, found in flaxseed, walnuts, chia, hemp, and several common vegetable oils.
- Participants with the highest concentration of alpha-linolenic acid had nearly a 50% lower risk of dying during the study compared to those with lower levels.
- The study had some limitations, such as no access to participants’ total diet or information about their supplement intake.
Emerging research offers some optimism for those suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Ingesting omega-3 rich foods like flaxseed oil and walnuts might help decelerate the ailment’s physical deterioration.
ALS, previously referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a rapidly advancing neurodegenerative condition impacting nerve cells located in the brain and spinal cord. Afflicted individuals experience diminished muscular movement control. The expected lifespan post-diagnosis typically falls between two to five years.
Omega-3s and ALS – A Potential Lifespan Enhancer?
In addition to slowing down symptom progression, this nutritional modification might mildly improve survival rates in ALS patients, according to scientists.
Details of The Study
The intriguing correlation between diet and ALS gets highlighted in a study published in the academic journal Neurology.
Emphasising on this discovery, Dr. Kjetil Bjornevik, an assistant professor of epidemiology and nutrition, mentioned the importance of conducting other researches to assess the interaction between plant-based omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid and those with ALS.
Viable Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Flaxseed oil and walnuts aren’t your only options for omega-3 fatty acids. Pumpkin seeds and canola oil are also packed with this nutrient.
Increasing omega-6 fatty acid consumption might also provide some benefits, the researchers have noticed.
Unfolding the Study Process
To dig deeper into the interconnection between diet and ALS, the study tracked the health progress of 449 ALS patients for a period of 18 months. The average age of the participants was 58, and approximately 28% of them died by the end of the study.
Participants were evaluated on twelve physical function domains, such as swallowing, speech, mastication, muscle usage of hands, arms, legs and torso, and respiratory functionality, with total scores varying between zero and 48. Higher scores suggest better functionality and less severe symptoms.
Relevance of Alpha-linolenic Acid
An omega-3 fatty acid named alpha-linolenic acid emerged as the most beneficial. It is present in not only flaxseed and walnuts but also chia, hemp, and several common vegetable oils.
Participants with the highest concentration of alpha-linolenic acid had nearly a 50% lesser risk of dying during the study phase than their counterparts with lower levels. The study also revealed better survival rates associated with an omega-3 fatty acid named eicosapentaenoic acid found in fatty fish and fish oil supplements, and an omega-6 fatty acid called linoleic acid found in vegetable oils, nuts, meats, seeds, and eggs.
Despite these significant findings, there were some limitations in the study, such as no access to participants’ total diet or information about their supplement intake.
For more details on ALS, visit the page provided by the U.S. National Institutes of Health here.
The research received funding from the ALS Association.