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Dietary Considerations for People With Muscular Dystrophy

author image Michelle Lawson
Michelle Lawson began her professional writing career in 2010, with her work appearing on various websites. She emphasizes alternative approaches to health-related issues. She is certified as a Sports Nutritionist by the International Fitness Association. Lawson graduated from ATI College of Health with honors, earning her associate degree in medical assisting.
Dietary Considerations for People With Muscular Dystrophy
Green tea in a glass teapot and glasses sits on a white counter. Photo Credit View Stock/View Stock/Getty Images

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, muscular dystrophy is a genetic disease that leads to progressive weakness and degeneration of the muscles that control movement. The most common form of muscular dystrophy is duchenne. This type of dystrophy affects the protein producing gene called dystrophin. Although there is no cure for muscular dystrophy, a diet rich in protein, herbs and supplements may improve muscle strength.


According to KidsHealth.org, people that are diagnosed with duchenne muscular dystrophy will gradually lose the ability to do simple tasks such as sitting up, walking, breathing and moving their arms and hands. Additionally, some people will not develop symptoms until adulthood. Males are more likely to develop this disease than females. 1 out of 36,000 male infants are born with this type of muscular dystrophy.

Foods to Avoid

If you have muscular dystrophy, the University of Maryland Medical Center states that you should exclude refined foods such as white breads, sugars and pasta. Additionally, you should avoid coffee and other stimulants such as alcohol and tobacco. If you suffer from food allergies, stay away from foods containing additives and preservatives. If any foods that you eat seem to aggravate your symptoms, speak with your physician about removing them from your diet altogether.

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Protein is needed by the body for muscle growth, repair and regeneration. Protein is essential in your diet if you are diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. Eat fewer fatty meats and lean more toward fish, lean meats and beans as protein sources.

Green Tea

Green tea polyphenols are known for their antioxidant properties. They not only provide protection from the sun and certain cancers, they may also reduce the decline in neurological and cardiovascular health. According to Life Extension, the antioxidants are believed to play a role in reducing oxidative stress leading to inflammation and degradation of muscles. The daily recommended amount of green tea for muscular dystrophy is 250 to 500mg.


Supplements that support skeletal and muscular strength such as vitamin D and calcium are an essential part of your diet if you suffer from muscular dystrophy. The University of Maryland Medical Center states that one to two capsules of fish oil once or twice daily may reduce inflammation while improving immunity. Additionally, the center states that amino acids such as arginine and glutamine will aid in muscle protection. A creatine supplement may help increase muscle strength. Remember to always consult with your physician to review your medical history prior to starting a supplement regimen.

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