The Ideal Diet for Myasthenia Gravis: Foods Rich in Vitamins B and D

Foods rich in vitamin B

Story at-a-glance -

  • If you’ve been diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, your diet will play a crucial role in maintaining your health
  • It’s important to make adjustments to the way you eat to accommodate facial muscle weakness. There are a few things you can do to help make eating food easier

If you’ve been diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, your diet will play a crucial role in maintaining your health. One of the main problems associated with the disease is weight gain, due to the increased inactivity.

Chewing food and swallowing can also become difficult because of the weakened facial muscles. Therefore, it’s important to eat food that can help maintain your weight and keep your nervous system healthy.

Foods Rich in B Vitamins Can Help Promote Nerve Health

The B vitamin family plays an important role in your overall health, particularly for the nervous system. Specific B vitamins that can help with myasthenia gravis include:1

B1 and B2: can help with the healthy functioning of the muscles, nerves and heart.

B3: can help regulate the nervous and digestive systems. It helps convert food to energy as well.

B6: can help support the immune system.

B12: can help support the nervous system, alongside vitamins B3 and B6.

The table below provides a good summary of foods rich in B vitamins that you can add to your diet:2

Vitamin B13

Wild-caught salmon

Sunflower seeds

Macadamia nuts

Green peas

Squash

Asparagus

Black beans

Vitamin B2

Almonds

Brussels sprouts

Pasture-raised chicken and eggs

Spinach

Grass fed yogurt

Kidney beans

Vitamin B34

Pasture-raised chicken and eggs

Grass fed beef

Avocado

Vitamin B55

Broccoli

Avocado

Sweet potato

Shiitake mushrooms

Grass fed yogurt

Pasture-raised chicken and turkey

Vitamin B6

Banana

Chickpeas

Carrot

Grass fed cheese

Papaya

Potato

Spinach

Vitamin B76

Almonds

Onion

Tomato

Carrot

Walnuts

Pasture-raised eggs

Vitamin B9

Black beans

Kidney beans

Navy beans

Garbanzo beans

Pinto beans

Lentils

Asparagus

Vitamin B127

Crab

Sardines

Grass fed beef

Grass fed milk

Vitamin D Can Help Improve Your Symptoms, but It Must Come From Natural Sources

In a study published in The American Journal of Case Reports, a 49-yeard-old Brazilian woman diagnosed with severe myasthenia gravis was administered massive doses of vitamin D, as much as 80,000 to 120,000 IUs per day. The researchers were testing the effectiveness of vitamin D in treating myasthenia gravis, since past studies showed that it can help treat the symptoms of other autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and psoriasis.8

As the study went on, the subject experienced significant improvements, and her condition even went into remission. But despite the positive results, the researchers were quick to note that more studies are needed to verify the effectiveness of the methods due to safety reasons.9

Remember that taking large doses of vitamin D supplements can lead to hypervitaminosis D, or vitamin D toxicity.10 This applies only to supplements, because your body can regulate vitamin D production made by sunlight exposure, and foods containing vitamin D are not high enough to cause health problems. Symptoms of vitamin D toxicity include:11

Hypercalcemia (excess buildup of calcium in the blood)

Poor appetite

Nausea

Vomiting

Weakness

Frequent urination

Other kidney problems


To avoid vitamin D toxicity, it is best that you get this nutrient from natural sources, such as sensible sunlight exposure. Fifteen to 20 minutes outdoors as close to noon as possible every day is enough.12 In addition to sunlight exposure, the following foods are known to have optimal levels of vitamin D that can help support your health:13

Wild-caught Alaskan salmon

Sardines

Pasture-raised eggs

Shiitake mushrooms

Grass fed milk

Changing Your Eating Habits Is Just as Important as Eating Healthy Food

It’s important to make adjustments to the way you eat to accommodate facial muscle weakness. There are a few things you can do to help make eating food easier, such as:14

Eating smaller meals: Splitting your food into smaller meals throughout the day can help shorten eating time, thus conserving energy.

Breaking down solid foods: If certain foods are hard to chew, chop or slice them into smaller bits first. You may also dip them in sauces and dips to soften them up.

Planning ahead: When you have plenty of energy in certain times of the day, take advantage of that to make and eat larger meals.

Changing your neck position: A different neck angle can help you swallow food easier. Try to find an angle that works but is comfortable at the same time.

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