Restrictive, Vegan-Based Diet Linked to Fewer RA Symptoms
A small new study of women suggests that adopting a low-fat vegan diet and then eliminating remaining trigger foods may dramatically reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) within months. After 16 weeks, the mean Disease Activity Score in 28 joints (DAS28) decreased from 4.5 to 2.5 (P < .001), and the mean number of swollen joints dipped from 7.0 to 3.3 (P = .03). The study was published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. It's not clear whether the vegan diet or the restriction of trigger foods – or both or neither – was helpful. Significant weight loss in the diet group could have played a role in reducing symptoms.
@ricky The researchers launched the study to determine the feasibility of a "practical and easy-to-prescribe diet" without caloric limits, Barnard said. "People have done a variety of studies where they've looked at diet changes, often with fasting, and the quality has been variable." There's no consensus in the medical literature on which dietary approach is best for patients with RA. A 2021 systematic review by Philippa and colleagues found positive results for the Mediterranean diet, high doses of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D supplementation, and sodium restriction. Fasting had significant but temporary effects, and the reviewers noted "outcomes from vegetarian, elimination, peptide, or elemental diets suggested that responses are very individualized."