A gluten-free vegan diet has been found to help women suffering rheumatoid arthritis, according to new research from the Karolinska Institute.
Rheumatoid arthritis is associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and cardiovascular diseases. The underlying causes are unknown, but researchers suspect that the disturbed balance of blood fats seen in patients with rheumatoid arthritis may be part of the explanation.
Now, a research team at Karolinska Institute has shown that a gluten-free vegan diet has a beneficial effect on cardiovascular risk factors in people with rheumatoid arthritis. The effect was seen when a group of patients who kept to a gluten-free vegan diet for a year were compared with a control group which had followed ordinary dietary advice.
Vegan food had a positive effect on symptoms of the disease, said the researchers, who noted that blood levels of oxidised LDL-cholesterol, a risk factor for atherosclerosis, were lower in the group which kept to the vegan diet. The vegan group also had higher levels of anti-PC, a type of antibody that the researchers believe has a protective effect against atherosclerosis.
"Our findings suggest a new mechanism by which the level of natural protective antibodies can be increased. They also show that diet can have effects on the immune system with implications for the incidence of disease", said Professor Johan Frostegård, who led the study.
Foie Gras Linked To Arthritis, Alzheimer's
Arthritis Gets Added To Green Tea's Curative List
Arthritis Linked To Heart Attack Risk
Source: Karolinska Institutet