Nutrition and Dietary Supplements in Motor Neuron Disease
The role of nutrition in motor neuron disease
Compromised nutrition leading to weight loss is a common and significant problem in the ALS patient population. Malnutrition and consequent weight loss are significant negative prognostic indices to survival 1–3. The benefit of aggressive and early nutritional therapy can profoundly influence the disease course, quality of life and survival.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
The brain is the most complex part of the human body. Brain along with the spinal cord constitutes our central nervous system which controls every part of our daily life from breathing, movements, memory, etc. The brain is made of three main parts: the forebrain (front part of the brain), midbrain, and hindbrain (the back part of the brain). The brain cells are called neurons (nerve cells). Motor neurons in the brain control important muscle activity, such as gripping, walking, speaking, swallowing, and breathing.
Grouped under motor neuron disease (MND), amyotrophic laterals sclerosis (ALS) is a rare condition that progressively damages motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord, stopping them from sending messages to muscles. The muscles gradually weaken, waste away, and twitch. Eventually the ability of the brain to start and control voluntary movement is lost. Symptoms are usually first noticed in the arms, hands, legs or swallowing muscles, which first lose their strength and then their ability to move. As the damage progresses, symptoms spread to other parts of the body and the condition becomes more debilitating.