Ask the Expert: Are There Any Diets You Can Recommend to Reduce the Symptoms of RA?

Mark Borigini, M.D. Health Pro
  • Question:


    In an effort to try to have control over something in my life, I've decided that maybe I will try changing my diet to improve the RA symptoms. The Humira is not doing what I thought it would... Are there any diets you can recommend to reduce the symptoms of RA, or the inflammation and flare-ups?




    The approach to controlling rheumatoid arthritis through dietary manipulation has certainly been fraught with variable results and outright uncertainty.


    A study published in the "Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology" in the year 2000 compared a diet high in unsaturated fats, low in saturated fats, with hypoallergenic foods versus a typical well-balanced diet; it did not show even a 20% global response, although there was a small but statistically significant improvement in the number of tender joints and the sedimentation rate in those subjects who ate the experimental diet.

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    In 2005, a review of studies of diet in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis published in "Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism" indicated that perhaps an increased intake of fish oil may be beneficial in terms of its anti-inflammatory effect.


    The bottom line is that a dietary change is not a substitute for prescription drugs in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. If you are failing Humira, you might want to ask your doctor about an alternative biologic agent.

    There are some patients who do not have an ideal response to the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibiting drugs (which include Humira, Enbrel, and Remicade). Fortunately, there are now two United States FDA-approved drugs indicated for those rheumatoid arthritis patients who have failed TNF-inhibiting drugs: Orencia and Rituxan. These drugs were discussed by me in prior blog entries on new treaments for Rheumatoid Arthritis.



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Published On: September 04, 2007