Research: RENNIE and co-workers,

Listed in Issue 94

Abstract

RENNIE and co-workers, MRC Human Nutrition Research, Elsie Widdowson Laboratory, Fulbourn Road, Cambridge, UK, kirsten.rennie@mrc-hnr.cam.ac.uk, have reviewed (96 references) the evidence for nutritional management of rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. Poor nutrient status in some patients has been reported. Some drugs prescribed to alleviate symptoms may reduce the absorption of certain nutrients and thus increase their requirement. Diet and nutrient supplementation has a role in the management of the disease by alleviating symptoms, decreasing progression of the disease, reducing the reliance on non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or combat their side-effects. Supplementation with n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids consistently shows an improvement in symptoms and a reduction in NSAID use. Evidence relating to other fatty acids, antioxidants, zinc, iron, folate, other B vitamins, calcium, vitamin D and fluoride is also considered. Present evidence suggests that rheumatoid arthritis patients should eat a balanced diet rich in n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants. More long-term studies are needed to provide evidence for the benefit of other supplements and to determine optimum intake for antioxidants and n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Background

Methodology

Results

Conclusion

References

Rennie KL, Hughes J, Lang R, Jebb SA. Nutritional management of rheumatoid arthritis: a review of the evidence. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics 16 (2): 97-109, Apr 2003.

Comment

In view of the prevalence and distress caused by rheumatoid arthritis, it is to be hoped that nutritional approaches such as those using fatty acid and antioxidant supplementation will find their way into the clinical arena, sparing patients the side effects of long-term dependence upon drugs.

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