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Diet High in Carotenoids Linked to Lower Risk of ALS

But vitamin C, lycopene, β-cryptoxanthin intake not tied to reduced risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

THURSDAY, Jan. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Although vitamin C intake has no effect, greater total major carotenoid intake is inversely associated with the risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), according to research published online Jan. 29 in the Annals of Neurology.

Kathryn C. Fitzgerald, Sc.M., of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues pooled the results from five prospective cohort studies involving 1,100,910 participants and 1,153 deaths due to ALS to examine the putative role of carotenoid and vitamin C in the pathogenesis of ALS.

The researchers found that an increased total major carotenoid intake correlated with a significantly decreased risk of ALS (multivariate-adjusted relative risk for the highest to lowest quintile, 0.75). There was an inverse association for increased intake of β-carotene and lutein with ALS risk (relative risk comparing highest versus lowest quintiles, 0.85 and 0.79, respectively). No link was observed for lycopene, β-cryptoxanthin, and vitamin C and a reduced risk of ALS.

"To summarize, results from this pooled analysis of five large prospective studies of greater than one million people and almost 1,100 cases of ALS indicate that high dietary intakes and supplemental use of vitamin C appear not to affect risk of ALS," the authors write. "Our results do, however, suggest that intake of foods high in carotenoids may help to prevent or delay the onset of ALS. Further research, including food-based analyses, may suggest possible dietary characteristics associated with ALS prevention."

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

Abstract (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ana.23820/abstract )Full Text (subscription or payment may be required) (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ana.23820/full )