Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic immunological, inflammatory, demyelinating, and neurodegenerative disease. Nutrition has been considered a possible factor in the pathogenesis of MS for some years. There is currently no consensus on the monitoring of eating habits to improve the course and/or symptoms of the disease, as there is insufficient evidence to recommend a specific diet for patients with MS. On this basis, the purpose of this study is to compare the daily eating habits of MS patients in three different countries (China, Spain, and Cuba) that allow us in the future to explore healthier diets for them, and assessing risk factors for relapse in patients with MS.
Material and method
We have adopted a questionnaire design based on the use of the web to evaluate the daily eating habits of patients with MS in three different countries: China, Spain, and Cuba. According to the options of MS patients in the daily eating habits questionnaire, we divided them into two main eating habits: mixed diet and Mediterranean diet. We performed a logistic regression analysis to explore risk factors for relapse in patients with MS.
Our study found that in the three countries, China, Spain, and Cuba, MS patients are the most common in women, the incidence rate from women to men is 2-3:1, which usually starts between the ages of 25 and 59 years old, and relapsing–remitting is the most common type of MS, 70-80% of MS patients have experienced disease relapse to varying degrees during the course of their illness. Most MS patients in China and Cuba have a mixed diet, while MS patients in Spain have a Mediterranean diet. Through logistic regression analysis, we found that the type of diet is an important risk factor for relapse of MS (p = 0.003, OR = 2.628, 95% CI: 1.393-4.968), the risk of relapse of MS by mixed diet is 2.6 times greater than that of the Mediterranean diet.
The components of the daily diet of MS patients in three different countries are basically the same, but China and Cuba have mixed diets, while Spain has mainly a Mediterranean diet. Our research clearly shows that the Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of relapses in MS patients. We believe that it is essential to carry out large-scale multicenter studies to verify these findings, which may be of great relevance in the management of MS.