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Iron levels help predict MS progression

Iron is an essential mineral for normal cellular functioning of the central nervous system. Therefore, abnormalities in Iron metabolism may lead to neuronal death and excessive Iron deposition in the brain.

In a relation to Multiple Sclerosis, it is still not clear whether iron deposition is a byproduct or a mediator of disease.

However, researchers have found that different levels of iron in specific parts of the brain indicate onset of Multiple Sclerosis as well as disease severity and progression.

Iron mapping with special type of MRI was done on two groups of people – with and without MS. The results showed that patients suffering from Multiple Sclerosis have higher levels of iron in one part of the brain and different in the other. Namely, MS patients have higher iron levels in the basal ganglia, essential for moving, and low in the thalamus, which is important for communication between brain and spinal cord.

Currently, doctors are measuring brain atrophy in order to asses a risk of decline in mental and physical functioning of MS patients. However, measuring the amount of brain tissue that has been shrinked isn’t the most effective procedure, because it takes long time to be seen.

Multiple Sclerosis is a brain disease that attacks central nervous system, and it cannot be cured. It is a sort of autoimmune disease that attacks myelin, a protective layer which surrounds fibers that are connecting nerve cells. Iron is the key ingredient of myelin, and shortage or excess Iron can harm the brain causing loss of coordination, vision, speech and memory problems, tremors, numbness, fatigue etc.

Iron is an essential mineral that has a role in transporting oxygen all around the body.
The maintenance of proper Iron concentration in the body is vital to optimal functioning.
There are two types of Iron that can be found in food — heme Iron and non-heme iron. Animal products, such as meat and fish contain both heme and non-heme iron but plant based food can only provide non-heme Iron. Human organism absorbs both types, but non-heme one, a little bit harder. That’s why vegetarians might be at a greater risk of developing anemia than people who consume meat.

Multiple Sclerosis

Foods that are rich with both types of iron are:
• lean red meat
• liver
• chicken
• seafood
• lentils
• beans
• cereals

• dried fruits
• nuts

• seeds
• eggs

• soya

Vegetables that contain non-heme iron are:

• spinach
• kale
• seaweed
• broccoli
• parsley

When it comes to iron absorption, you should be aware that vitamin C increases it, and because of that, you should be incorporating tomato or pepper salads with your meat based meals, in case that you have low iron level.
Also, you should be avoiding drinking tea with or straight after your meal because it contains tannins, which reduces iron absorption.
You can also be accumulating too much iron in the body which can be causing you problems, such as nausea, dizziness, upset stomach, or pain in abdominal area.
This can happen from over-supplementation or hemochromatosis, a genetic condition of absorbing more iron than usual, even to toxic level.


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