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Yale Researchers Report that Higher Levels of Fatty Acid in Tissues May Improve Immune Regulation– Further Study Needed to Understand Implications for People with MS

January 27, 2021

Researchers at Yale University report that a fatty acid called oleic acid promoted the stability and function of immune cells (T regulatory cells, or Tregs) in laboratory studies. Tregs are capable of turning off destructive immune attacks such as what occur in MS.  The team then found that oleic acid was reduced in people with MS when compared with people without MS, and that exposing Tregs from people with MS to oleic acid in the laboratory restored their ability to suppress inflammation.

Oleic acid is found in cooking oils, meats, cheese, nuts, sunflower seeds, eggs, pasta, milk, olives, avocados, and other foods, however, further study is needed to determine whether consuming more oleic acid would reduce disease activity in people with MS. This study was funded in part by the National MS Society.

Read more about what we do know regarding diet and nutrition for people with MS.

Read more about this study from Yale University

Read the paper in the Journal of Clinical Investigation

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis, and there is currently no cure for MS. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. An estimated 1 million people live with MS in the United States. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, and it affects women three times more than men.


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