Vegan diets have an anti-inflammatory response. In fact one study of the vegan diet looked at rheumatoid arthritis patients who also eat a gluten-free as well as a vegan diet, according to a March 17, 2008 news release, An anti-inflammatory response to the vegan diet. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients who eat a gluten-free vegan diet could be better protected against heart attacks and stroke, the study explained.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a major risk factor for these cardiovascular diseases, but a gluten-free vegan diet was shown to lower cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and oxidizedLDL (OxLDL), as well as raising the levels of natural antibodies against the damaging compounds in the body that cause symptoms of the chronic inflammatory disease rheumatoid arthritis, such as phosphorylcholine. These findings are reported on March 17, 2008 in the open access journal Arthritis Research and Therapy. Since the journal is an open journal, all articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central’s open access policy, the news release notes.
You can check out the original study, "Gluten-free vegan diet induces decreased LDL and oxidized LDL levels and raised atheroprotective natural antibodies against phosphorylcholine in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: a randomized study." Authors of the study are Ann-Charlotte Elkan, Beatrice Sjöberg, Björn Kolsrud, Bo Ringertz, Ingiäld Hafström, and Johan Frostegård. The idea that we can influence our health by changing our eating habits has become a fashionable idea among lifestyle and consumer magazines. There is evidence that dietary changes can bring about health benefits but specific results are not widespread. The study is published in the March 2008 issue of Arthritis Research and Therapy.
The researcher, Johan Frostegard of the Rheumatology Unit at the Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm and colleagues divided sixty-six RA patients randomly into two groups. They randomly assigned 38 of the volunteers to eat a gluten-free vegan diet, and the other 28 a well-balanced but non-vegan diet for one year. They analysed the levels of fatty, lipid molecules in blood samples using routine analytical methods at regular periods. They also measured oxLDL and anti-phosphorylcholine (antiPC) factor at the beginning of the experiment, at 3 months and again at 12 months.
Gluten-free vegan diet worked best
The researchers found that the gluten-free vegan diet not only reduced LDL and oxLDL levels and raised antiPC antibodies but lowered the body-mass index (BMI) of the volunteers in that group. Levels of other fatty molecules, including triglycerides and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) stayed the same. In contrast, none of the indicators differed significantly for the control groups on the conventional healthy diet.
AntiPC antibodies are studied within CVDIMMUNE, an European consortium led by Dr Frostegard with the hypothesis that such antibodies can protect against cardiovascular disease and can be used as diagnostic and therapeutic factors.
Frostegard and colleagues have now shown that diet could be used to improve the long-term health of people with rheumatoid arthritis. They concede that a bigger study group will be needed to discern which particular aspects of the diet help the most. Also you may wish to check out the site, BioMed Central.
Arthritis Research and Therapy is an international, peer-reviewed online and print journal, publishing original research, reviews, commentaries and reports. Studies relate to the rationale and treatment of arthritis, autoimmune disease and diseases of bone and cartilage. The journal is edited by Prof Peter E Lipsky (USA) and Prof Sir Ravinder N Maini (UK) and has an Impact Factor of 3.8.
BioMed Central is an independent online publishing house committed to providing immediate access without charge to the peer-reviewed biological and medical research it publishes. This commitment is based on the view that open access to research is essential to the rapid and efficient communication of science.