Dr. Humeira Badsha Medical Center, Beach Park Plaza, Jumeira Road, Dubai, UAE
Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) frequently ask their doctors about which diets to follow, and even in the absence of advice from their physicians, many patients are undertaking various dietary interventions.
However, the role of dietary modifications in RA is not well understood. Several studies have tried to address these gaps in our understanding. Intestinal microbial modifications are being studied for the prevention and management of RA. Some benefits of vegan diet may be explained by antioxidant constituents, lactobacilli and fibre, and by potential changes in intestinal flora. Similarly, Mediterranean diet shows anti-inflammatory effects due to protective properties of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamins, but also by influencing the gut microbiome. Gluten-free and elemental diets have been associated with some benefits in RA though the existing evidence is limited. Long-term intake of fish and other sources of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids are protective for development of RA. The benefits of fasting, anti-oxidant supplementation, flavanoids, and probiotics in RA are not clear. Vitamin D has been shown to influence autoimmunity and specifically decrease RA disease activity. The role of supplements such as fish oils and vitamin D should be explored in future trials to gain new insights in disease pathogenesis and develop RA-specific dietary recommendations.
Specifically more research is needed to explore the association of diet and the gut microbiome and how this can influence RA disease activity.
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