Association Between Dietary Intake and Function in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

Nieves, Jeri W.; Gennings, Chris; Factor-Litvak, Pam

Importance: There is growing interest in the role of nutrition in the pathogenesis and progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Objective: To evaluate the associations between nutrients, individually and in groups, and ALS function and respiratory function at diagnosis.

Design, setting, and participants: A cross-sectional baseline analysis of the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Multicenter Cohort Study of Oxidative Stress study was conducted from March 14, 2008, to February 27, 2013, at 16 ALS clinics throughout the United States among 302 patients with ALS symptom duration of 18 months or less.

Exposures: Nutrient intake, measured using a modified Block Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ).

Main outcomes and measures: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis function, measured using the ALS Functional Rating Scale-Revised (ALSFRS-R), and respiratory function, measured using percentage of predicted forced vital capacity (FVC).

Results: Baseline data were available on 302 patients with ALS (median age, 63.2 years [interquartile range, 55.5-68.0 years]; 178 men and 124 women). Regression analysis of nutrients found that higher intakes of antioxidants and carotenes from vegetables were associated with higher ALSFRS-R scores or percentage FVC. Empirically weighted indices using the weighted quantile sum regression method of "good" micronutrients and "good" food groups were positively associated with ALSFRS-R scores (β [SE], 2.7 [0.69] and 2.9 [0.9], respectively) and percentage FVC (β [SE], 12.1 [2.8] and 11.5 [3.4], respectively) (all P < .001). Positive and significant associations with ALSFRS-R scores (β [SE], 1.5 [0.61]; P = .02) and percentage FVC (β [SE], 5.2 [2.2]; P = .02) for selected vitamins were found in exploratory analyses.

Conclusions and relevance: Antioxidants, carotenes, fruits, and vegetables were associated with higher ALS function at baseline by regression of nutrient indices and weighted quantile sum regression analysis. We also demonstrated the usefulness of the weighted quantile sum regression method in the evaluation of diet. Those responsible for nutritional care of the patient with ALS should consider promoting fruit and vegetable intake since they are high in antioxidants and carotenes.


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April 4, 2023


PMID: 27775751