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Rheumatoid Arthritis: New Study Found No Dietary Intervention for the condition

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Diet is unlikely to affect the course of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, according to a review of the scientific literature published in the open-access journal RMD Open.

The analysis indicates that there isn’t enough high-quality dietary research, despite the fact that a nutritious diet has numerous health benefits, including rheumatic and musculoskeletal illnesses.

Diet has been shown to have an impact on cardiovascular and mental health, but it’s unclear whether it might also affect the symptoms and course of rheumatic and musculoskeletal disorders.

In an effort to answer this question, the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) formed an international task force in 2018 to investigate the potential impact of diet, exercise, weight, alcohol, smoking, and paid work on disease progression and to develop clinically and patient-appropriate recommendations for each of these behaviors.

The task force looked for relevant systematic reviews of randomized controlled trials or observational studies that looked at the impact of dietary components/supplements on pain, joint damage, and physical function for seven common rheumatoid and musculoskeletal conditions for the dietary recommendations.

Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, axial spondyloarthritis, psoriatic arthritis, systemic sclerosis, and gout were among the conditions mentioned.

The pooled data analysis comprised 24 systematic reviews published between 2013 and 2018, as well as 150 original research publications published without regard to publication date.

The majority of the studies focused on osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis and used a variety of dietary compounds/supplements, including animal products, experimental diets, food components, fruits and vegetables, as well as other plant-based interventions, minerals and supplements, and vitamins.

Since there weren’t many studies on diet and osteoarthritis, the evidence was rated as poor or very poor.

The pooled data analysis revealed that the amount of the influence on disease progression was often minimal and not clinically relevant for dietary therapies with moderate evidence (fish oil, chondroitin, glucosamine, vitamin D, avocado, and soybean).

Most dietary therapies for rheumatoid arthritis have weak or very poor evidence, mostly because of the small number of studies and individuals included. There was some evidence for probiotics, vitamin D, and fish oil/omega-3, but the effects were either not important or not big enough to make a big difference.

Systemic lupus erythematosus patients who took fish oil/omega-3 saw no improvement in their symptoms or results. As with axial spondyloarthritis, the evidence for all previous research on this condition was assessed as low or very poor.

Similarly, the evidence for fish oil/omega-3 in the treatment of psoriatic arthritis was graded as modest, with no influence on outcomes. Other dietary therapies were deemed ineffective due to a lack of data. The evidence for gout and systemic sclerosis was likewise evaluated as weak.

“herefore, based on the current evidence, there is no single dietary intervention which has substantial benefits on the outcomes of people with [osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis],” the authors write.

“While there have been far fewer research studies published for the other included [rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases], again, there is no consistent evidence that any dietary exposure significantly improves outcomes in these conditions,” they say.

They stress that while nutrition may not make a significant difference in disease development in these illnesses, persons who live with them should eat healthily and avoid gaining too much weight.

“Health professionals can advise people with [these conditions] that consuming specific dietary components is unlikely to influence the progression of their [disease], but that it is important to maintain a healthy diet and healthy weight for general health reasons,” they note.

Image Credit: Getty

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