A recent European study had some interesting findings about alcohol, wine, coffee and fish consumption and how it impacts disability progression in people with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS).
1372 people registered with the Flemish MS Society in Belgium answered a survey about dietary patterns. 893 of these people had RRMS. This is what the research showed:
- Patients with RRMS who drank at least one alcoholic drink (not wine) a week reached a score of 6.0 (the point at which assistance is needed to walk) on the Expanded Disability Status Scale, the EDSS, 7 years later than people who did not drink at all.
- Those who drank wine reached EDSS of 6.0 four years later than those who did not drink wine.
- People with RRMS who drank coffee daily delayed reaching EDSS 6.0 by five years.
- People with RRMS who ate fish two or more times a week reached EDSS 6 seven years later than people who ate fish less than once a month. Interestingly, it did not seem important if the fish was lean or fatty.
These effects were not seen in people with progressive MS, only in people with RRMS.
The researchers hypothesize that these affects may be due to anti-inflammatory properties of alcohol, wine, coffee and fish. It should be said, however, that this is not a prescription to start drinking coffee or alcohol - certainly not excessive amounts. Much more research needs to be done in this area, but this is certainly pretty good news for people who enjoy a cocktail or a nice cup of coffee.
You can read the full article in the European Journal of Neurology here: Alcohol, coffee, fish, smoking and disease progression in multiple sclerosis