LMU 73 – Unleashing Dietary Power: Navigating Rheumatoid Arthritis and Beyond
Source: Journal Frontiers in Nutrition – Clinical Nutrition (November 2017)
Lifestyle Medicine Update (November 24, 2017)
In the realm of health and wellness, the profound impact of diet on various medical conditions is garnering increasing attention. One such condition, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), has spurred researchers to unravel the intricate relationship between dietary practices and disease management. A research review paper, published in the esteemed journal Frontiers in Nutrition on November 8, 2017, unfurls a tapestry of insights into the role of dietary interventions in the management of RA. While the focus is on RA, the implications extend to other autoimmune joint conditions and even osteoarthritis, laying the foundation for a holistic approach to health.
From Insights to Implications: An Overview
The research review paper embarked on a comprehensive journey through dietary practices, drawing on a myriad of studies to weave a compelling narrative. At its core lies a set of recommendations that seeks to ameliorate symptoms and curb disease progression through dietary choices. While the paper’s spotlight is on RA, its far-reaching recommendations hold promise for an array of degenerative diseases.
The Journey Begins: Dietary Approaches for RA
The canvas of dietary interventions for RA is painted with diverse strokes, each representing a distinct approach. Among these stands the “7-Day Supervised Fast,” an approach that segues into an ongoing vegan diet. This intervention offers limited vitamin and mineral supplementation, carbohydrate intake, and energy derived from vegetable juice over a week. Remarkably, this regimen engenders a decrease in the activation of CD4 cells, inhibiting the inflammatory TH1 and Th17 cells, notorious for their role in triggering inflammation and joint deterioration in RA. Not stopping there, this approach also ushers in a reduction in other inflammatory joint chemicals such as LTB4, stemming from neutrophils. In an intriguing turn, the diet induces ketosis, a state of low-blood sugar. Within this metabolic shift, a ketone body – beta-hydroxybutyric acid – emerges as a potent force, mitigating the secretion of cytokines, the inflammation-inducing chemicals that often run rampant in RA. The combined effects of this regimen showcase its potential to assuage inflammation, pain, and joint destruction, offering a glimmer of hope amidst the challenge of RA.
Mediterranean Marvel: Diet as a Shield
Amidst the dietary landscape, the Mediterranean diet surfaces as a beacon of promise. This dietary approach, rich in oleic acid, omega-3 fatty acids, unrefined carbohydrates, and phytochemicals, encompasses a diet high in olive oil, cereals, fruits, vegetables, fish, and legumes. The inclusion of moderate amounts of red wine further elevates its allure. Within this tapestry of consumption, olive oil and fish emerge as stalwart warriors against inflammation, underpinning its potential to stave off the onset of RA.
Diving Deeper: Elemental Diet and Elimination Diet
A more formidable path unveils itself in the form of the Elemental Diet. Comprising a liquid formula enriched with specific amino acids, minimal glucose, and essential vitamins and trace elements, this regimen demonstrated its potency in a large study. A staggering 72% of patients registered over 20% improvement in pain and early morning stiffness, underscoring its potential in curbing RA symptoms. The hypoallergenic nature of this formula further underscores its efficacy in managing immune system overactivity.
The Elimination Diet, in turn, embraces a personalized approach. It seeks to identify and eliminate foods that trigger sensitivity in individuals. This tailored strategy acknowledges the tendency of food-based antigens to seep through the gut and incite an immune-inflammatory response, exacerbating RA symptoms.
The Culmination: Researcher Recommendations
Having traversed a spectrum of dietary interventions, the research review paper culminates in a set of recommendations tailored for RA patients. The ideal meal envisioned by the researchers encompasses raw or moderately cooked vegetables, replete with greens and legumes. The infusion of spices like turmeric and ginger, coupled with seasonal fruits and probiotic yogurt, orchestrates a symphony of natural antioxidants and anti-inflammatory effects. In tandem, the exclusion of processed foods, excessive salt, oils, butter, sugar, and animal products constitutes a pivotal facet. The researchers further advocate for dietary supplements such as vitamin D, cod liver oil, and multivitamins. These dietary practices, when harmoniously paired with low-impact aerobic exercises, present a formidable framework for self-managing RA, rendering it a financially sustainable endeavor.
The Science of Healing: Harnessing Nature’s Arsenal
The research review paper delves into the realm of scientific substantiation, underscoring the anti-inflammatory properties of a multitude of natural compounds. Green tea catechins, ginger, curcumin (derived from turmeric), boswellia, ashwagandha, and cinnamon bark emerge as warriors against inflammation. Grapes, oranges, apples, tomatoes, spinach, and potatoes, teeming with p-Coumaric acid, also manifest potent anti-inflammatory effects. The isoflavone genistein found in soybeans joins the fray, further enhancing the armament against inflammation. Omega-3 fats and borage seed oil, rich in gamma-linolenic acid, add their names to the roster of inflammation fighters. The canvas expands to encompass prebiotics and probiotics, yielding not only anti-inflammatory effects but also antioxidant properties. This twofold impact is underscored by their ability to shape gut microflora and modulate the immune system.
A Universal Approach: Beyond RA
While the research review paper’s focal point is RA, its insights ripple across the healthcare landscape. The dietary approach advocated within its pages resonates as a potent strategy in averting and managing a spectrum of degenerative diseases – from heart disease to Alzheimer’s disease. The pursuit of health, through conscientious dietary choices, emerges as a unifying thread woven through diverse medical narratives.
In the realm of health, the research review paper in question transcends a singular condition, urging readers to explore the dynamic interplay between diet and disease management. The insights unveiled within its pages, anchored by comprehensive studies and expert recommendations, hold the potential to transform lives. Beyond rheumatoid arthritis, this dietary approach extends its embrace to a tapestry of ailments, urging individuals to harness the power of nutrition in their journey towards vitality.
Khanna S, Jaiswal KS and Gupta B. Managing rheumatoid arthritis with dietary interventions. Frontiers in Nutrition – Clinical Nutrition. November 8, 2017.
Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great
Dr. James Meschino
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.