Diet therapy for rheumatoid arthritis

Authors

  • Richard S. Panush MD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Associate Professor of Medicine and Immunology and Medical Microbiology, Chief, Division of Clinical Immunology, Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Florida, and Chief, Clinical Immunology Section, Medical and Research Services, Veterans Administration Medical Center
    2. Division of Clinical Immunology, Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Florida and the Clinical Immunology Section, Medical and Research Services, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Gainesville, Florida.
    • Division of Clinical Immunology, Dept. of Medicine, Box J-277, JHMHC, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610
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  • Randy L. Carter PhD,

    1. Assistant Professor of Biostatistics, Department of Statistics, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Florida
    2. Division of Clinical Immunology, Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Florida and the Clinical Immunology Section, Medical and Research Services, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Gainesville, Florida.
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  • Paul Katz MD,

    1. Assistant Professor of Medicine and Immunology and Medical Microbiology, Division of Clinical Immunology, Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Florida, and Clinical Investigator, Veterans Administration Medical Center
    2. Division of Clinical Immunology, Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Florida and the Clinical Immunology Section, Medical and Research Services, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Gainesville, Florida.
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  • Badri Kowsari BS,

    Staff Nutritionist
    1. Division of Clinical Immunology, Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Florida and the Clinical Immunology Section, Medical and Research Services, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Gainesville, Florida.
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  • Selden Longley MD,

    Associate Professor, Assistant Chief
    1. Division of Clinical Immunology, Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Florida and the Clinical Immunology Section, Medical and Research Services, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Gainesville, Florida.
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  • Sheryl Finnie MD

    Registered Teaching Nurse II
    1. Division of Clinical Immunology, Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Florida and the Clinical Immunology Section, Medical and Research Services, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Gainesville, Florida.
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Abstract

Although diet therapy for arthritis has received considerable publicity, there is little objective information about its efficacy. We undertook a 10-week, controlled, double-blind, randomized trial of patients with active rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Twenty-six patients completed the study; 11 were on an experimental diet (a specific popular diet free of additives, preservatives, fruit, red meat, herbs, and dairy products) and 15 were on a ‘placebo’ diet. Of 183 variables analyzed, there were no clinically important differences among rheumatologic, laboratory, immunologic, radiologic, or nutritional findings between patients on experimental and placebo diets. Six RA patients on the placebo and 5 on the experimental diet improved by objective criteria. Improvement averaged 29% for patients on placebo and 32% for patients on experimental diets. Two patients on the experimental diet improved notably, elected to remain on the experimental diet following the study period, have continued to improve, and noted exacerbations of disease upon consuming nonexperimental diet foods. Our study failed to provide evidence of objective overaii clinical benefit of this diet as followed by a group of patients with longstanding, progressive, active RA. However, our data are not inconsistent with the possibility that individualized dietary manipulations might be beneficial for selected patients with rheumatic disease.

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