I recently learned about a study suggesting a vegan diet is an effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.
While that sounded intriguing, another claim made in an interview about the study really caught my attention: the lead author of the study said that physicians should encourage people with rheumatoid arthritis to try changing their eating patterns before turning to medication.
Before turning to medication? Now, wait just a minute. That flies in the face of decades of research convincingly demonstrating the importance of early medication treatment of rheumatoid arthritis to prevent permanent joint damage. An increasing number of effective treatments can do just that.
In fact, there’s no convincing evidence that changes in diet can prevent joint damage in rheumatoid arthritis. And that includes this new study.
So, what did this research find? Let’s take a look.
A vegan diet for rheumatoid arthritis
Researchers enrolled 44 people with rheumatoid arthritis in the study. All were women, mostly white and highly educated. They were randomly assigned to one of two groups for 16 weeks:
- Vegan diet. Participants followed a vegan diet for four weeks, followed by additional food restrictions that eliminated foods the researchers considered to be common arthritis-trigger foods. These foods included gluten-containing grains (wheat, barley, and rye), white potatoes, sweet potatoes, chocolate, citrus fruits, nuts, onions, tomatoes, apples, bananas, coffee, alcohol, and table sugar. After week seven, these foods were reintroduced, one at a time. Any reintroduced food that seemed to cause pain or other symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis was eliminated for the rest of the 16-week period.
- Usual diet plus placebo. These participants followed their usual diet and took a placebo capsule each day for 16 weeks. The capsule contained insignificant doses of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E.
After the first 16 weeks, participants took four weeks off, then the groups swapped dietary assignments for an additional 16 weeks.
What did the study find about the vegan diet?
The vegan approach seemed to help lessen arthritis symptoms. Study participants reported improvement while on the vegan diet, but no improvement during the placebo phase.
Bible verses for today’s meditation and inspiration: Matthew E. McLaren
2 Corinthians 13:9 For we rejoice when we ourselves are weak but you are strong; this we also pray for, that you be made complete.
Colossians 1:28 We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.
Colossians 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God.
2 Corinthians 10:15-16 not boasting beyond our measure, that is, in other men’s labors, but with the hope that as your faith grows, we will be, within our sphere, enlarged even more by you, so as to preach the gospel even to the regions beyond you, and not to boast in what has been accomplished in the sphere of another.
2 Thessalonians 1:3 We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater;
2 Peter 3:18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
Ephesians 1:17-18 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
Ephesians 3:16-19 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, read more
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