Changing diet can help autoimmune disease

January 23, 2001 in Healthy Eating

Changing diet can help autoimmune disease

According to researchers from the University of Bridgeport School of Human Nutrition in Connecticut, getting rid of bread, cutting down on fats and adding fish oil to your diet could help control diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or multiple sclerosis, where the body's immune system fights its own tissues.

When it comes to bread products such as bagels, the grain has been genetically modified to increase gluten content. This makes for a chewy bagel, but it also puts a tremendous amount of gluten into the system, the researchers explained. Citing a study in which rheumatoid arthritis patients improved on a gluten-free diet (no wheat, rye, oats or barley) the scientists reported similar results in their patients.

Very low-fat diets, with 20 grams a day or less of fat, have been found to help people with lupus, multiple sclerosis, scleroderma and rheumatoid arthritis. In one 34-year study of multiple sclerosis patients on such a diet, 95% survived and remained physically active. Defaulting from the diet, even after 5 to 10 years adherence, reactivated the symptoms.

Fish oil has been found to be of clinical benefit in a variety of conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, psoriasis and osteoarthritis.

Dietary changes, such as eliminating gluten, appear to get quick results for rheumatoid arthritis patients, supplements may take 3 months or more. As the inflammation is naturally decreased, patients can often reduce their medications and, over time, some can let go of them altogether.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.