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What To Eat When You Have Muscular Dystrophy?

Muscular dystrophy or MD is a cluster of more than 30 genetically inherited diseases. All these diseases are distinguished by the presence of muscle weakness that is progressive as well as degenerative.1 The muscles that are affected are skeletal muscles, which are responsible for controlling movements in our body. There are majorly nine types of muscular dystrophy. They are classified based on various factors like the age at which the disease starts, the extent of the spread of disease and the inheritance pattern that is associated with the disease. Muscular dystrophy is not a curable condition, and neither can it be reversed. With a proper diagnosis and prompt treatment, the symptoms can be reduced, and the disease progression can be slowed significantly.

What To Eat When You Have Muscular Dystrophy?

While diet is not going to directly impact the symptoms of muscular dystrophy, it surely contributes a lot in providing the much-needed nutrition that the body needs to fight off the disease.2 Muscle weakness is a characteristic symptom in all types of muscular dystrophy and while eating a certain type of diet is not going to help you reverse the condition, it can certainly help you in providing enough energy and sustain the muscle strength, if not improve it. The diet can also play a major role in weight management.

  • It is essential to not put on excess weight and become obese when suffering from muscular dystrophy. An excess weight can put an extra burden on the already weakened muscles and further worsen the symptoms. While there is not a set diet for muscular dystrophy, you can surely follow some tips and guidelines which can help in improving the symptoms of the condition at least to an extent.
  • It is better to remove any food allergens from your diet. Food allergens can cause digestive or respiratory problems. These systems already get weakened over time in muscular dystrophy. It is better not to put any extra burden on these systems. The allergies can be identified by keeping a watch on the diet or doing a simple blood test
  • Drinking 6-8 glasses of water daily can help the body in eliminating toxins. A word of caution here is for those who suffer from kidney problems. They need to consult the physician before making any abrupt changes to their fluid and dietary intake
  • It is better to avoid stimulants like coffee and alcohol
  • It is good to consider a diet that is low in fats and high in proteins
  • While the protein is not going to build up the muscle in muscular dystrophy, it can surely help in sustaining the muscle tissue with the help of its amino acids
  • Some foods than are good for people with muscular dystrophy are eggs, broccoli, oats, peas etc. the foods should be high in protein and fiber and low on fats
  • It is recommended to have foods rich in calcium as well as vitamin D. Cabbage, broccoli and okra can provide calcium in plenty. Red kidney beans are rich in calcium as well.
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables should be included in the diet as these are high in anti-oxidants and work wondrously on cell renewal. They also provide ample amounts of fibers
  • While fats are to be lessened, they should not be avoided completely. It is essential to consume healthy fats so that the muscles get the required energy. Vegetable and fish oils can provide sources of healthy fats. Nuts can do the job too.
  • It is essential to consume whole grains as they act as a source of energy. Stay away from refined carbs like refined flour etc.

For persons who are having problems with chewing and swallowing, care should be taken to include only soft foods in the diet that can be swallowed without a problem.

Muscular dystrophy cannot be cured or reversed.3 But, eating a healthy diet can help in providing essential nutrients to the body.


Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 14, 2019

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