Rheumatoid Arthritis

23 April 2008

Patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who switched to the "Mediterranean diet" regimen for three months showed a significant reduction in clinical symptoms, with the diet appearing to decrease disease activity in patients who have stable and modestly active RA. The Mediterranean diet used olive and canola oils as a primary source of fat, and was high in fish, poultry, fruit, vegetables, and legumes, and low in red meat and high fat dairy products. The patients on the Mediterranean diet lost 3 kg in weight, and their cholesterol levels fell after only three weeks. After six weeks on the diet their index of inflammatory activity started to fall and at 12 weeks, both physical function and vitality had also improved, and nine out of 14 variables changed for the better. There was no evidence of any changes in a control group following their normal diet. (Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 2003;62:208-14).

A high intake of olive oil and cooked vegetables may reduce the risk of developing the rheumatoid arthritis, according to researchers from the University of Athens Medical School. Study participants who used the most olive oil were significantly less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than people who consumed the least, and those who ate the greatest number of servings of cooked vegetables were about 75% less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than those who reported eating the fewest servings (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1999;70:1077-1082). A Barcelona study reported in Gut journal has shown that rats fed on a diet rich in olive oil and given a cancer-inducing agent had less pre-cancerous tissue and fewer tumours than those fed fish or safflower oils. Another study carried out at the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, has shown that people who consume at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day are less likely to suffer from ischaemic stroke, the most common form of stroke, than those who eat fewer than three servings a day. This analysis of 75,596 women over 14 years, and 38,683 men over 8 years, found that the risk of ischaemic stroke was 31% lower in women who consumed a median of 5.8 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, and in men who consumed a median of 5.1 servings per day (The Journal of the American Medical Association 1999;282:1233-1239).

Drinking green tea could help keep arthritis at bay, say scientists. Researchers at the University of Sheffield have found that two compounds found in green tea can help prevent osteoarthritis by blocking the enzyme that destroys cartilage. Green tea, first discovered in China nearly 5,000 years ago, has long been thought to be beneficial to health. The Arthritis Research Campaign, which partly funded the research, said the initial results were promising. A spokeswoman said: "These findings are of great interest, and although further research needs to be done, in the mean time people should drink green tea as it's not going to do them any harm - and may in fact do them a lot of good." (BBC News 15 February, 2003)

Chinese medicine classifies rheumatic conditions (bi) according to weather type (wind, damp, cold, heat), whilst the word rheumatism itself implies wateriness, originating from the Greek for “stream” or “bodily humour”. Despite this, modern medicine has refuted any connection between rheumatic conditions and weather. Now Argentine research carried out in the city of Cordoba has shown that when 151 patient suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis or fibromyalgia were asked to keep a pain journal (but not told why), a clear correlation emerged. Pain severity increased in rheumatoid arthritis patients with low temperature, high atmospheric pressure, and high humidity, in osteoarthritis patients with low temperature and high humidity, and in fibromyalgia patients with low temperature and high barometric pressure. There was no correlation between weather conditions and pain in the controls (J Rheumatol 2002;29:335-8).

: Herbal Medicine

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