How effective or important are supplements for ALS patients?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 25, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

How effective or important are supplements for ALS patients?(things like fish oil, flaxsed oil, coq10, vitamins E and C)

Expert Answers

Jennifer Serafin, N.P. is a registered nurse and geriatric nurse practitioner at the Jewish Homes for the Aged in San Francisco.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a rare genetic neurologic disease. ALS affects the voluntary and skeletal muscles of the body, causing gradual loss of function. Current science tells us that the major cause of ALS is nerve damage caused by free radicals, which are chemicals that are produced during normal chemical reactions that occur in the body.

I researched the internet, looking for current research studies that show that vitamins are effective for treating ALS patients. There was one study done at Harvard a couple of years ago that showed Vitamin E supplements did lessen the risk of developing ALS. But, there are no studies completed yet that show that using vitamins effectively treats ALS.

That being said, many ALS patients do try to take supplements, especially those that are thought to help correct or minimize free radical damage. So, you can certainly try them, but there is still no hard evidence that they help. Good luck!