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Is There an MPN Diet?

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Published on March 26, 2020

Key Takeaways

  • Improving diet is particularly important for MPN patients, since you might experience a lot of inflammation and heavy symptom burden. 
  • Dr. Fleischman recommends the Mediterranean diet, since it’s been found to reduce inflammatory proteins in patients with cardiovascular disease. 
  • If you would like to participate in Dr. Fleischman's NUTRIENT study about diet, find out more here.

Myeloproliferative neoplasm expert Dr. Angela Fleischman, from the University of California, Irvine, answers a frequently asked question, “Is there a diet specifically for MPN patients?”

Dr. Fleischman explains and gives suggestions on how to eat healthy. Watch as Dr. Fleischman also shares how to reduce inflammation through foods that you consume and how to get involved in her scientific study about diet for MPN patients.

This program is sponsored by Incyte. This organization has no editorial control. It is produced by Patient Power. Patient Power is solely responsible for program content.

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Transcript | Is There an MPN Diet?

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Andrew Schorr:           

Hello and welcome to Patient Power on location in Orlando, Florida. I’m Andrew Schorr. Why are we in Orlando? Because this is where each year there is a big medical convention. Not always in Orlando—it moves around, but this year here more than 25,000 blood experts from around the world come, including blood cancer experts and that means part of the discussion is about MPNs. I’ve been living with myelofibrosis for about eight years. You’re affected by it or a loved one. Let’s get the news.

So, starting across the way here we have our first expert, Dr. Angela Fleischman from UC Irvine. Angela, thanks for being with us.

Dr. Fleischman:           

Thank you for having me.  

Andrew Schorr:           

Thank you. In the center is Dr. Brady Stein from Northwestern. And, Brady, thank you for being with us. And then on the right is Laura Michaelis from the Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

Dr. Michaelis:              

Thank you so much, Andrew. It’s a pleasure to be here. 

Andrew Schorr:            

Is there an MPN diet? 

Dr. Fleischman:           

So, at this point in time, I don’t think we can say there’s an “MPN diet,” however, I think improving one’s diet is particularly important for any chronic illness and particularly for a chronic illness such as a myeloproliferative neoplasm that is associated with a lot of symptom burden and a lot of inflammation. So, our rationale for looking at diet is such. Number one, MPN patients have a lot of inflammation, they have a high symptom burden, and a lot of times the early stage patients we really don’t do anything to alter the natural history of the disease.

So, we wanted to think about low or no-risk interventions that could lower inflammatory cytokines or inflammatory proteins in people’s blood with the possibility that it could improve their symptoms and potentially blunt the progression of their disease. So, we thought, “Well diet is, no there’s no harm in diet, and Mediterranean diet has been found to reduce inflammatory proteins in a large study of patients with cardiovascular heart disease.” So, we thought, “Why don’t we investigate this possibility in myeloproliferative neoplasms and with any clinical trials, in particular with diets much more difficult to get people to actually comply with a diet than actually just taking a pill.” 

So, for the first stage of our study, we simply wanted to know whether if we gave people information and counseling on two healthy diets, were they able to follow them? So, that was our primary objective with our first study, which we’ve just completed, and we can say that MPN patients are actually particularly good at following diets.

Andrew Schorr:           

Good job, folks. Good job. Okay.

Dr. Fleischman:           

And so, what we’d like to do next is expand the number of patients, and we’re planning on doing an online intervention rather than making people come to Southern California for the particular purpose of identifying whether a change in diet can improve symptom burden in MPN patients. 

Andrew Schorr:           

Okay, what kind of things—Mediterranean diet—does that mean use olive oil, vegetables? I mean, what are we talking about?

Dr. Fleischman:           

Correct. So, I think that in general Mediterranean diet is common sense healthy. From my perspective, I think the main difference is the vast majority of the fats come from olive oil rather than meats and processed foods and sweets.

Andrew Schorr:           

Butter.

Dr. Fleischman:           

So, olive oil, very little red meat, minimal poultry, lots of fish, nuts, fresh fruits, fresh vegetables. So, if you’re eating that way, then you’re going to naturally be cutting out your fast food, cutting out your other processed foods. So, I think it’s a good way for people to in general just eat more healthy..

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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