Multiple sclerosis symptoms and the effects of wine

November 12, 2012

Multiple sclerosis symptoms and the effects of wine

Multiple sclerosis symptoms occur when the protective covering of the nerve cells becomes damaged and effects the brain and spinal cord. It’s a condition that effects a great number of people put how can wine have an impact?

What is multiple sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis symptoms develop when the damage to the myelin sheath occur due to inflammation. The myelin sheath is essential for surrounding and offering protection to the nerve cells. It is what is known as an autoimmune disease, which affects the brain and spinal cord. It leads to reduced functioning of the nerve signals and in some cases they stop altogether. This nerve damage can occur in numerous places including any area of the brain, the spinal cord or optic nerve. The direct cause remains unknown although it is thought to be linked to a number of factors including genetics, the environment and virus. MS can occur in two forms, the first of which is known as relapse MS, in which the symptoms can temporarily disappear and progressive MS, in which the condition gets gradually worse without any relief of the multiple sclerosis symptoms.

Results of studies and research

Research conducted recently in Belgium has produced some interesting results. The study looked into the lifestyle, namely individual’s habits of consumption in individuals who suffer from MS. There were 1431 participants of the study, all of which had either relapse or progressive MS. Over 80 percent of the participants regularly drank wine and this seemed to have a relieving effect on the multiple sclerosis symptoms. They all drank around glasses of wine per week. Similar results were found in those who regularly consumed fish and also in those who regularly drank coffee. Cigarette smoking was one area of lifestyle that didn’t have an effect on multiple sclerosis symptoms and certainly didn’t relieve them. Full results of the study will be published in the latest issue of “European Journal of Neurology”.

Whilst this research provides a good basis, further studies are now required into more specific area and why they affect the multiple sclerosis symptoms in the way that they do. It needs to be distinguished if the wine is causality or reverse causality, i.e. is drinking wine helping to reduce symptoms or are the participant’s opting to drink wine because their symptoms are relieved for another reason. There is also the possibility that wine is having an effect because it contains a compound called resveratrol. This compound in already known to have anti-inflammatory affects so it is possible that it is relieving multiple sclerosis symptoms because it is acting in a similar way to some medications. This is another area that must be investigated further.

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