Effect of diet on rheumatoid arthritis symptoms

Posted , 15 users are following.

Hello, I'm a medical student currently doing some research into the effect of diet on rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.

I became interested in this subject after a family friend (who has been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis) told me that certain foods cause flare-ups in her condition.

From the research I have conducted so far it appears that many sources recommend a Meditteranean-style diet (rich in fruit, vegetables, fish oils, nuts etc.) or a gluten-free vegan diet. However, results from these studies is variable.

I wondered whether any of you have had personal experiences (either as a patient or professional) in experimenting with changes in diet (either excluding or incorporating certain foods or food groups) and whether this has had a positive or negative effect on rheumatoid arthritis symptoms?

Thank you so much for your help - it is greatly appreciated!

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  • Posted

    iv got fibro and i am waiting for tests to see if there is anything ellse going on as inflamotary markers are really high esp a certain which iv forgotten now .

    but i find unfortunatly that cold food like salad, ice cream,fruit ,and spicey foods cause flare ups in my condition more pain and ibs .tomatoes and beetroots esp bad .also strange again hot milk makes me sick but cold i am ok on .its totaly crazy . i also cant manage wholemeal ,barley.lentals, peppers ,pepper ,or salt .

    mutton ,or to much pork  or oily fish .

    but i am perfectly fine on root veg ,brocli,cauliflower ,green beans, cabbage, 

    lamb, beef, potato, white bread .chicken . and few more other things .

    i keep going back and trying stuff but everytime thre same thing .

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  • Posted

    I alicemj22. Firstly it's great to read of a medical student who is interested in learning more about RA and diet. This is a controversial topic for many with RA because of drug intolerances and some people are very tempted to quit drugs in favour of a natural approach - using vitamin supplement and food elimination to try and slow the disease process. 

    I was diagnosed with seronegative RA four years ago and I gave up gluten, caffeine and then dairy and try to avoid refined sugars/ processed foods. I have also quit alcohol almost entirely since taking DMARDs. I haven't reintroduced any of these to a great extent since my diagnosis and haven't found that certain foods trigger flares.

    However I have had long periods off RA drugs for allergy and lack of tolerance reasons and have found that slowly the disease comes back in various less obvious guises, no matter what I eat or drink.

    I do feel that keeping to a balanced diet has helped my health generally and that dropping gluten and dairy have helped me to lose a lot of weight - which in turn has helped my load bearing joints. But my ESR still fluctuates and pain and stiffness come and go regardless of what food and drink. I do also have many other autoimmune/ connective tissue problems which have continued to affect my quality of life so I don't believe that dietary factors can prevent or halt the disease process with RA or any other autoimmunity diseases. But being very mindful of what you put into your body can really help the drugs to do their job. Hope this helps. 

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  • Posted

    Hi alicemj22,

    I couldn't agree more with tumtum1963. Everything she said is what I would have said. I did go off gluten/wheat over a year ago and for the first 8 months, it appeared to have gotten rid of the malaise and fatigue, but it ended up coming right back. I decided to stay mostly gluten/wheat free because, like tumtum said, I lost 25 lbs and felt healthier overall. 

    I try to stay away from processed foods and if I do eat flour, I go only organic. I started taking tumeric/curcumidin supplements but nothing has taken away my inflammation or made me feel 'better' or helped with my RA pain and fatigue. I know some swear by diet, and maybe it does work for some people, but for me it has done minimal at best.The RA drugs don't even do much for me.

    Good luck with your study and thanks for taking an interest in this auto immune disease!


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  • Posted

    The only thing i haven't tried is starving myself to see if that stops flares...it might. I have tried no gluten, no red meats no sweets or processed foods no dairy you name it i tried and it made no difference at all. I just take my prescribed biologics and whatever else and hope it works.
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  • Posted

    I was told by my first rheumatologist that not eating at all -for days-would stop a flare.
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