June 18, 2005

How Food Can Affect Rheumatoid Arthritis

It's now known that diet can squelch rheumatoid arthritis in at least two entirely different ways.

One: Specific food components, notably fats, can regulate the functioning of hormonlike bodily agents, called eicosanoids, which help control inflammation, pain and other arthritic symptoms.

Two: Rheumatoid arthritis in some people maybe a striking and overwhelming allergic-type reaction to specific foods. Thus, in one case, you might treat symptoms by eating certain food that, in fact, act as drugs to relieve pain, swelling, fatigue and stiffness of arthritis. In the other case, avoiding one or more foods may provide an instant and permanent cure, vanquishing the disorder forever.

Nobody knows why certain people maybe more vulnerable to food-triggered arthritis. One speculation is that some arthritis sufferers have abnormally penetrable or "leaky" gastrointestinal tracts, letting food or bacterial antigens (allergy triggers) pass more readily into bloodstream, where they set off inflammation and other havoc. Another theory is that bacteria in the gut feed on particular foods and then produce toxins that cause symptoms.

Then again, such food-precipitated rheumatoid arthritis may not be the classical disease at all. Dr Richard Panush, a prominent arthritis researcher, suggests "allergic arthritis" maybe an entirely separate disorder from conventional rheumatoid arthritis.

Nevertheless, the case for diet-connected arthritis grows steadily stronger.


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