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Does diet affect arthritis?

by (2682)
Updated September 16, 2014 at 7:19 PM
Created February 23, 2011 at 2:46 PM

I was reading an article about a teenager's struggle with Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. They mention in the article that rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder and its main symptom is joint inflammation. They also mention what they think causes it:

"The disorder is believed to have several causes, according to the Web site of the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York, including unknown environmental factors and a genetic susceptibility, reflected in a family history of autoimmune disorders and a positive blood test for the HLA B-27 antigen."

They don't mention her diet or that diet is a known cause of arthritis. Because they mention it is an autoimmune disorder, I'm curious about how a person's diet might affect the condition.

Has anyone with arthritis noticed any difference from changing your diet?

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50 · March 19, 2012 at 6:33 PM

No, we've been eating tons of tomatoes, and the occasional bell pepper. Honestly, switching to this way of eating is hard enough for her that we're trying to keep it simple for now; i.e. we're not worrying about tweaking the specific foods we eat, macro-nutrient ratios, or supplements. We just want to get on track with a clean diet before we look at optimizing it.

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320 · March 19, 2012 at 5:36 PM

Did she also cut out nightshades when she went paleo?

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320 · March 19, 2012 at 5:34 PM

I agree with this. I cut out nightshades and my osteoarthritis is nearly gone. It is still improving daily too. I tried everything for about 20 years, and cutting out nightshades is what helped.

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656 · June 29, 2011 at 11:33 AM

I was wondering about eggs, I think maybe I should cut them out and see how that works. When I first started eating Paleo, most of my pain went away, now I am having flair ups in some of my fingers, ankle and knee.....weird. Its pretty intense.

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2682 · June 28, 2011 at 12:27 PM

Rose, great information! Thank you so much for sharing!

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11986 · June 27, 2011 at 8:19 PM

Ah, we have the same second link. I can't seem to access the first link, though; it says "file not available."

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11986 · June 27, 2011 at 8:17 PM

In a review of the (sparse) literature on diet and RA, this article says: "In one study, 16 RA patients fasted for 7–10 days and followed a lactovegetarian diet for the subsequent 9 weeks. There was a significant improvement in both objective and subjective disease symptoms during the fasting period, followed by rapid deterioration when the patients began on the lactovegetarian diet." (http://rheumatology.oxfordjournals.org/content/38/11/1039.full)

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11986 · June 27, 2011 at 8:15 PM

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10895373 http://www.mendeley.com/research/reduction-serum-leptin-igf1-preserved-tlymphocyte-numbers-activation-after-ketogenic-diet-rheumatoid-arthritis-patients/

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11986 · June 27, 2011 at 8:15 PM

Absolutely. This is the top issue in my life right now -- RA joint pain that went away after eating zero-carb. A researcher in Norway has done some work on ketogenic diets and RA, but the trials have only lasted 7 days, and while they've shown a reduction in morning joint pain, they didn't show any changes in other bio-markers. I think they need to run the trials for longer than a week; I've been ZC and virtually pain free for 2 years. I'll post the links in the next comment.

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3631 · June 27, 2011 at 7:19 PM

we hate it when people try to sell us stuff. and by we i really mean me. flagging you anyway.

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543 · February 24, 2011 at 9:51 PM

Celebrating the first wk! No arthritic pain today - no pills nec.- catching up on housework I've been unable to do - lifting things - I'm on top of the world - hope it lasts. No nightshades for me (a few yams), no cayenne or peppers (hard - I'm addicted to spice!) and gradually cutting down coffee. I'm eating eggs (may have to forego later, I'll see) no dairy - if the diet is responsible for the upswing I'll take it! Good Luck!

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2682 · February 24, 2011 at 8:35 PM

I still have PB now and then...I'll have to keep track for a couple days to see if I notice anything like this!

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45 · February 24, 2011 at 11:13 AM

Me too with the nightshades. I reduced my painkiller intake overnight by 25 % through cutting out nightshade plants as well as increasing my sleep since I wasn't up with unbearable pain on a regular basis any more.

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241 · February 24, 2011 at 8:03 AM

I've been really wondering about the nightshades in spices. Thanks for mentioning this.

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2682 · February 23, 2011 at 5:45 PM

So far I've been convinced this is the diet to keep for a lifetime. Good luck with your first 30-day challenge!

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2682 · February 23, 2011 at 5:44 PM

I was thinking about grains, but it's interesting to hear about nightshades. I know they cause problems for some people, but wasn't sure what those exact problems were. Thanks!

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7063 · February 23, 2011 at 4:32 PM

Yes, my husband, he has flare ups when he consumes sugar, beer, bread (esp white) and yeasty products. This is anecdotal however, I do not have any scientific evidence to back this up. Perhaps anyone has a source of information?

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45 · February 24, 2011 at 11:40 AM

There is definitely some scientific evidence that diet affects arthritis For example link text and link text However, much of this evidence is contradictory or inconclusive.

There is also much anecdotal evidence. Some people wil tell you that a strict vegetarian diet is necessary. Others that paleo is the only possible option. Some that you have to drink vinegar others that you must avoid it. It all gets quite confusing after a while.

Since neither the scientific or anecdotal evidence can agree on a definite strategy, I take from this that the best course of action is to try out for oneself alterations for diet that seem like they may help. See if they do work for the individual concerned and if not, move on and try something else. After all, each body has its own genetic heritage which is bound to affect the interplay of nutrition with disease. Other people's experience offers some clues as to what to try - and what to expect in the initial stages - but only our body's response can tell us if a particular dietary choice is right for us.

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11986 · June 27, 2011 at 8:19 PM

Ah, we have the same second link. I can't seem to access the first link, though; it says "file not available."

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2437 · February 23, 2011 at 5:31 PM

Yes, I had arthritis and now most of it's gone. The key was to cut out all nightshades (they pop up in a lot of spices) and also to cut eggs. I also do not eat dairy but not sure if that was a cause.

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320 · March 19, 2012 at 5:34 PM

I agree with this. I cut out nightshades and my osteoarthritis is nearly gone. It is still improving daily too. I tried everything for about 20 years, and cutting out nightshades is what helped.

D8195c5ae6c967027a3133d74969d0e1
543 · February 24, 2011 at 9:51 PM

Celebrating the first wk! No arthritic pain today - no pills nec.- catching up on housework I've been unable to do - lifting things - I'm on top of the world - hope it lasts. No nightshades for me (a few yams), no cayenne or peppers (hard - I'm addicted to spice!) and gradually cutting down coffee. I'm eating eggs (may have to forego later, I'll see) no dairy - if the diet is responsible for the upswing I'll take it! Good Luck!

7e038ec055ccb5ddea05e307f8121e4f
45 · February 24, 2011 at 11:13 AM

Me too with the nightshades. I reduced my painkiller intake overnight by 25 % through cutting out nightshade plants as well as increasing my sleep since I wasn't up with unbearable pain on a regular basis any more.

3573f7a18ee620179fda184c7d8b7242
241 · February 24, 2011 at 8:03 AM

I've been really wondering about the nightshades in spices. Thanks for mentioning this.

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2682 · February 23, 2011 at 5:44 PM

I was thinking about grains, but it's interesting to hear about nightshades. I know they cause problems for some people, but wasn't sure what those exact problems were. Thanks!

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373 · February 23, 2011 at 8:24 PM

Paleo has done wonders for me ( me being older than dirt lol ). Nightshades, mature cheeses do not bother me. Xheavy whipping cream and coffee every morning is OK too.

Grains and Legumes and tubers are my culprits. I fought for months to try keeping my fav natural peanut butter in my diet but finally , after a life long obsession , I gave it up.

When ever I experimented and brought PB back in, I would feel it in a day or 2 . The downside is it takes me weeks to get rid of the bad effects.

I can barely remember being this pain free. Maybe 40+ years or so ?

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2682 · February 24, 2011 at 8:35 PM

I still have PB now and then...I'll have to keep track for a couple days to see if I notice anything like this!

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543 · February 23, 2011 at 5:29 PM

Hi, I'm brand new, with 5 days under my belt (literally) - I was convinced after reading Robb Wolf's Paleo Solution Diet - I have so many health disorders, RA and diverticulitis among them. I feel that there can be nothing to lose by giving this diet a try! Thus far I feel quite well, satiated and am feeling less joint discomfort daily -- I'll see how I feel after the 30 day "challenge",right now I'm very optimistic! Wolf's book specifically addresses auto-immune disorders which appeales to me, as well as intestinal disorders that I also indicate. Why Not!? Good luck!

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b
2682 · February 23, 2011 at 5:45 PM

So far I've been convinced this is the diet to keep for a lifetime. Good luck with your first 30-day challenge!

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3618 · February 23, 2011 at 7:51 PM

Years ago I was having problems with my knees. Most of the time they felt OK but if I went on a car trip of just two hours, I had to stop periodically to stretch my legs or my knees would hurt.

The first time I tried low-carbing, I went on one of those car trips shortly after I started my dietary change. I didn't need to stop except to take a potty break. My knees were fine.

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539 · February 23, 2011 at 6:42 PM

Absolutely, yes. I'm on a low carb path, myself, and I mention that before bringing up nightshades and dairy because it made an immediate difference for me. I noticed relief right away just giving up the grains.

I'm a candidate for rheumatoid arthritis from both sides of my family, lucky me, and it shows up for my ancestors in the hands. Ever since I was a kid living on the East coast I remember feeling achy and swollen in the fingers with certain shifts in weather.

Then I lived in California for my entire adult life and noticed it only a little here and there.

I now live on the East coast again (sigh) and after a year of low carb Paleo eating I barely feel it at all unless I go overboard on the potatoes or dairy (which I ferment myself. It helps.) Oddly, tomatoes don't affect me adversely at all but I won't go near eggplant ever again.

Eggs are not an issue for me, though I was allergic as a child and then again for a while after my one and only flu shot.

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656 · June 29, 2011 at 11:33 AM

I was wondering about eggs, I think maybe I should cut them out and see how that works. When I first started eating Paleo, most of my pain went away, now I am having flair ups in some of my fingers, ankle and knee.....weird. Its pretty intense.

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50 · March 19, 2012 at 5:29 PM

My wife and I have been eating Paleo for about two and a half weeks now. The chronic swelling of her knees and ankles, not to mention the chronic inflammation of her knees from osteoarthritis, are completely gone. To top it off, her knees are now almost completely pain free, to the point that she's considering canceling the total knee replacement surgery she's scheduled to have next month.

3e50e89e6965cbeb73628bca54bc60a6
50 · March 19, 2012 at 6:33 PM

No, we've been eating tons of tomatoes, and the occasional bell pepper. Honestly, switching to this way of eating is hard enough for her that we're trying to keep it simple for now; i.e. we're not worrying about tweaking the specific foods we eat, macro-nutrient ratios, or supplements. We just want to get on track with a clean diet before we look at optimizing it.

9b47142b8ed1074a94b5654410740530
320 · March 19, 2012 at 5:36 PM

Did she also cut out nightshades when she went paleo?

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305 · May 01, 2011 at 5:53 PM

digging up an old post here...

the wife has RA and though she is not free and clear, going gluten free was a big game changer for her. as we all know, white flour and it's cousins are pure evil :) now im slowly getting her to cut sugar.. and hopefully have her adopt paleo in the not so distant future.

also, i had a post here on eastern medicine and body types... and for my wife, since she is a "cold" person, she was told to avoid all "cold" foods like pork and focus on "hot" foods like beef and chicken.

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15226 · February 23, 2011 at 5:14 PM

Robb Wolf writes a lot about controlling autoimmune disorders with a strict paleo diet, and seems to have a lot of success.

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5132 · May 01, 2011 at 9:55 PM

I'm curious what you guys take if there is a flare up of RA. Do you take NSAIDs such as Naproxen? If so, doesn't Robb Wolf and others warn specifically about NSAIDs' effects on the gut flora?

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78417 · February 23, 2011 at 5:47 PM

I have a leaky gut (working on that) and cannot eat gluten or eggs. If I do, along with other symptoms, is super bad joint pain. I can't open my hands or even lift my arms without pain. Within a week or so of the accidental ingestion the "athritis/inflammation" is gone.

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-2 · June 27, 2011 at 5:03 PM

                             ****EMELIA'S STORY****

So in July 2008 my middle daughter Emelia (Eme) was 2 1/2 years old and was jumping on the couch an fell off and bumped her knee. I didnt think anything of it, kids fall down all the time, right? Well within a couple days it swelled up into the size of a grape fruit and no one knew what was wrong with her but she couldnt move her leg and was in horrible pain. So after a week an no one (doctors) in NC didnt know what was wrong with her we drove to MA to go to Bostons Childrens Hospital, well what should have been a easy 12 hour car drive turned into a horrible painful 22 hour car ride. Emelia's leg was frozen at a 45 degree angle and everytime she would fall asleep she would wake up screaming crying. Wefinally made it t the Hospital and after a 21 hour visit and being bounced around from doctors office to doctors office they came in and said it can be 1 of 2 things, either Limes Disease which they said they were hoping for because its curable or its Arthritis. So they ran some tests and came back an said Emelia had Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, my husband and i were so confused, we thought only older people had Arthritis. So they gave her some meds that were supposed to help until we we got back to NC the following week also but made her an appt with a Rheumatologist in NC (Duke Childrens Hospital) when we got back. A couple days later Emelia couldnt walk she was now crippled an it was her 3rd Birthday. She was miserable and in so much pain, but thankfully the meds helped some of the pain and the drive back to NC was better. So when we got back to NC we drove the 3 hours once a month to the Doctors Office at Duke and they tried so many different meds with her, they tried steroid knee injections but that only last 2 months instead of the 6 months that they had thought. Then in Jan 2009 they came to us and said we want to try her on some meds but there pretty harsh, are you as parents willing to jump at this full force or do you want to keep taking it slowly. I then looked at Emelia who was now in a leg splint from her hip to her ankle and then looked at my husband and said we are willing to take this on full force. So they put her on Methotrexate (they give to Cancer Patients) and Enbrel (Arthritis Meds) they both had to be given by injection once a week in the back of the arm, which was the hardest thing to do as a parent never mind a 3yr old. So along with the 2 injections once a week, she was taking a folic acid pill, a zofran pill for nausea and zantac for belly pain because the meds would upset her stomach and had to get her blood taken every 4 weeks to make sure her internal organs werent failing because she was on Max Dose for her weight and the meds were so strong. Then in April 2009 the Arthritis Spread through out her body we were now at 8 joints and above and it even spread to her Left Eye. Which now ment we had to go to the Eye Doctors every 2 week and give her eye drops every hour while awake and this went on for over 2 years.When Emelia started Kindergarten in Aug 2010 the school nurse was going to her class room every hour to give her, her eye drops. In the mean time my aunt Rachelle had been telling me to put Emelia on The PALEO DIET and to add Juice Plus+ to her diet because they have been proven to help/cure arthritis, but i said no because the meds were working she could walk and run and was happy even though she always felt sick and had horrible belly pain.I also thought Juice Plus+ and the Paleo Diet would end up being to expensive or hard to do, so i kept brushing my aunt off. Then Nov 2010 Emelia had almost lost her vision completely in her Left Eye they had her Steroid Eye drops at Max Dose along with her Methorexate and Enbrel and nothing was helping. Emelia started loosing her hair, which was a side affect from the Methotrexate. Thats when i sat down with her Doctors and i asked how long is my daughter going to live if shes on all these meds and only 40 lbs at age 5. The doctors told me she will only live til about the age 25 and shell probably need organ transplants before than. So thats when i did all my research on Juice Plus+ and Paleo Diet, since my Aunt had been telling me about it for almost a year and a half and in Dec 2010 i put my whole family on the Paleo Diet (Caveman Diet) and the Juice Plus+ then in Feb i took Emelia OFF ALL MEDS and i am one happy mommy when i say it has now been 20 weeks since she has had any meds and the doctors cant find any arthritis in her body! She is my walking Miracle! So i am trying to help/prevent what had happened to my daughter and what they say with disease's like Arthritis, ADHD, Autism, Acid Reflux, Cancer, Cystic Fibrosis, Crohns Disease, Diabetes an so many more that all it is, is a Nutritional Imbalance in our bodys, and once you add your full servings of fruits and veggies in your Diet it Balances everything out and will help/cure anything that is wrong. An if nothing is wrong with you it will keep you Healthy or make you Healthier. So i am now a Distributor for Juice Plus+ because i truely believe in it and i believe that Nutrition is the best Medicine. My goal is to help/tell as many families abou The Paleo Diet and Juice Plus+ that are in the same situation we were in because as a parent it is the hardest thing to sit back and watch your child go through all of that, you feel helpless but you dont have to be! You can step up and take charge of you and your familes health, my family is proof! This past week Emelia was finally able to go to Gymnastics Camp and that was something she had wanted to do for a long time but never could because of her joints but she did it!!! If anyone has any questions for me or wants more info my Email address is tabithacalvillo@gmail.com and my website is www.tabithacalvillojuiceplus.com

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3631 · June 27, 2011 at 7:19 PM

we hate it when people try to sell us stuff. and by we i really mean me. flagging you anyway.

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