It is well known that arthritis sufferers are more likely to suffer from cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes. A new study has found that switching to a vegan diet, free of gluten, may both reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes in those with the illness.
The study, lead by researchers at the Karolisnka Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, followed 66 volunteers who had been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. 38 of the volunteers followed a vegan, gluten free diet consisting of foods such as nuts, seeds, fruit, and vegetables. The diet consisted of around 10% protein, 60% carbohydrate, and 30% fats. The remaining 28 volunteers followed a healthy, non-vegan diet with the same proportions of carbohydrates, fats and protein. The volunteers remained on the diets for a year.
Those who switched to the vegan diet showed an improvement in the number of swollen joints they had, from an average of 5.3 joints to 4.3 joints. Those on the vegan diet also had reduced amounts of C-reactive protein (CRP) circulating in the blood, CRP is a measure of the amount of inflammation in the body. High CRP levels are often found in rheumatoid arthritis sufferers and are a predictor for future cardiovascular problems such as heart disease and strokes.
Those on the vegan diet also had higher levels of natural antibodies known as antiPC. AntiPC antibodies are thought to help protect against damaging compounds in the body that are thought to cause cardiovascular disease and arthritis.
The vegans also experienced reductions in body mass index and LDL cholesterol levels. BMI levels at 12 months were 22.7 compared to 24.1 at the beginning of the study while LDL cholesterol dropped from 3.2 mmol/L to 2.4 mmol/L. HDL cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels remained similar throughout the study.
The authors of the study, which is published in the journal Arthritis & Therapy, concede that due to the relatively small sample size, larger studies need to be conducted to confirm the benefits of vegan diets for those suffering rheumatoid arthritis.
Similar Articles You Might Like:
- Carotenoids In Fruits & Vegetables May Cut Arthritis Risk
- Rheumatoid Arthritis Raises The Risk Of Strokes & Heart Attacks
- Moderate Alcohol Consumption May Prevent Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Breastfeeding Mothers Have Lower Risk Of Arthritis
- Vitamin B6 Deficiency May Exacerbate Arthritis Symptoms
- Polyphenols In Green Tea May Prevent & Reduce Severity Of Arthritis