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Keywords:

  • Vitamins;
  • Methotrexate;
  • Rheumatoid arthritis;
  • Diet;
  • Dietary intake

Abstract

The nutrient intakes and circulating vitamin levels of 32 patients with rheumatoid arthritis who were treated with methotrexate were evaluated over a 6-month period. Dietary data were obtained and blood was drawn prior to the initiation of and following 12and 24 weeks of methotrexate therapy. More than 50% of the patients had food intakes providing less than 67% of the recommended dietary allowance for zinc, vitamin E, foh'c acid, pyridoxine, qnd magnesium. Patients 51 years or older had better nutrient intakes than patients less than 51 years. Of the patients, 22% consumed vitamin supplements at thetime they were recruited for the study. Mean circulating vitamin levels measured over the6-month period were within normal limits. Our findings agree with previously published reports that patients with rheumatoid arthritis, particularly the subpopulation taking methotrexate, consume diets that are marginal in some nutrients. Additional research needs to be done to identify more sensitive nutrient assays and to establish more definitively the nutrient needs of patients with rheumatoid arthritis taking several therapeutic agents.