Nav: Home

New review highlights benefits of plant-based diet for rheumatoid arthritis

September 12, 2019

WASHINGTON--A plant-based diet may alleviate painful symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), according to a new review published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition.

RA is an autoimmune disorder characterized by inflammation that causes pain and swelling. While genetic factors are important, studies show that lifestyle factors, including diet, play a role. Researchers with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine reviewed clinical trials and observational studies and found strong and consistent evidence that a plant-based dietary pattern can reduce inflammation and improve symptoms associated with RA.

The study authors highlight four ways a plant-based diet may be effective:

1. Plant-based diets reduce inflammation. A 2015 study found that participants randomized to a two-month plant-based dietary intervention experienced reductions in inflammatory scores, when compared to those eating diets higher in fat and animal products. Other studies have found that diets high in fat and processed meat are associated with inflammatory markers, including C-reactive protein (CRP). Plant-based diets and high-fiber diets have been associated with lower CRP levels.

2. Plant-based diets reduce RA pain and swelling. A randomized clinical trial that looked at the effects of a low-fat vegan diet on people with moderate-to-severe RA found that after just four weeks on the diet, participants experienced significant improvements in morning stiffness, RA pain, joint tenderness, and joint swelling. The review authors suggest that plant-based diets are typically low in fat and high in fiber, which can reduce inflammation and decrease pain and swelling.

3. Plant-based diets are associated with a lower BMI. Studies show that excess body weight increases the risk for developing RA and decreases the likelihood of remission if RA is already present. A 2018 analysis found that RA patients who lost more than 5 kilograms of body weight were three times more likely to experience improvements than those who lost less than 5 kilograms. Plant-based diets have consistently proven to be effective for weight loss.

4. Plant-based diets promote healthy gut bacteria. Some studies suggest that the microbiome may play a key role in RA and inflammation. The authors note that high-fiber plant-based diets can alter the composition of gut bacteria and increase bacterial diversity, which is often lacking in RA patients.

"A plant-based diet comprised of fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes may be tremendously helpful for those with rheumatoid arthritis," says study co-author Hana Kahleova, MD, PhD, director of clinical research for the Physicians Committee. "This study offers hope that with a simple menu change, joint pain, swelling, and other painful symptoms may improve or even disappear."

While more research is needed, the review adds to the evidence that diets rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes may be beneficial for autoimmune conditions. Other studies have found that a plant-based diet may be protective against hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and multiple sclerosis.
-end-
Journalists: For an interview with a study author, please contact Laura Anderson at landerson@PCRM.org or 202-527-7396.

Read the full review here: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2019.00141/full

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

Related Multiple Sclerosis Articles:

New therapeutic options for multiple sclerosis in sight
Strategies for treating multiple sclerosis have so far focused primarily on T and B cells.
Diet has an impact on the multiple sclerosis disease course
The short-chain fatty acid propionic acid influences the intestine-mediated immune regulation in people with multiple sclerosis (MS).
The gut may be involved in the development of multiple sclerosis
It is incompletely understood which factors in patients with multiple sclerosis act as a trigger for the immune system to attack the brain and spinal cord.
Slowing the progression of multiple sclerosis
Over 77,000 Canadians are living with multiple sclerosis, a disease whose causes still remain unknown.
7T MRI offers new insights into multiple sclerosis
Investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital have completed a new study using 7 Tesla (7T) MRI -- a far more powerful imaging technology -- to further examine LME in MS patients
AAN issues guideline on vaccines and multiple sclerosis
Can a person with multiple sclerosis (MS) get regular vaccines?
How to improve multiple sclerosis therapy
Medications currently used to treat multiple sclerosis (MS) can merely reduce relapses during the initial relapsing-remitting phase.
Vaccinations not a risk factor for multiple sclerosis
Data from over 12,000 multiple sclerosis (MS) patients formed the basis of a study by the Technical University of Munich (TUM) which investigated the population's vaccination behavior in relation to MS.
Obesity worsens disability in multiple sclerosis
Obesity is an aggravating factor in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, the most common form of the disease.
A new culprit for multiple sclerosis relapses
A molecule that helps blood clot may also play a role in multiple sclerosis relapses, researchers report in the May 6, 2019 issue of PNAS.
More Multiple Sclerosis News and Multiple Sclerosis Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Reinvention
Change is hard, but it's also an opportunity to discover and reimagine what you thought you knew. From our economy, to music, to even ourselves–this hour TED speakers explore the power of reinvention. Guests include OK Go lead singer Damian Kulash Jr., former college gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, and entrepreneur Nick Hanauer.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 6: Strange Times
Covid has disrupted the most basic routines of our days and nights. But in the middle of a conversation about how to fight the virus, we find a place impervious to the stalled plans and frenetic demands of the outside world. It's a very different kind of front line, where urgent work means moving slow, and time is marked out in tiny pre-planned steps. Then, on a walk through the woods, we consider how the tempo of our lives affects our minds and discover how the beats of biology shape our bodies. This episode was produced with help from Molly Webster and Tracie Hunte. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.