**Update on diet changes & RA

*Update* I am having huge successes in alleviating my symptoms from changing my diet!! Please if you are visiting and have RA...try this. Or contact me... I am not only a mission to fix myself but to help others!

Friday, October 1, 2010

It's a NEW day :)

Happy Friday everyone!  I woke up today feeling significantly better!  I didn't eat very much yesterday but I did limit the rice milk and I must have drank about 5 litres of water.  Anyway- it feels good!!

I was up late lastnight researching and I ended up coming across some really great blogs about RA.  I swear most people with blogs are professional writers- they are so well written.  I've added a few new blogs to my side bar- check them out!!

After reading lastnight, it reminds me of a few important factors.  Firstly, most people with RA have what they call leaky gut syndrome (sounds lovely huh?)  Well, this is a very common problem with lots of people.  It is basically little holes along your GI tract that allows undigested food particles into your body.  They say that health starts in the gut and if you do have leaky gut, then you will have health problems.  In a study done, they found out of 100 people tested with RA, all 100 of them had leaky gut!!!  So, it was a good reminder for me to continue taking my probiotics. 

Secondly, I was reminded of how lucky I am to have the option of testing my food sesitivities while going off my meds.  While I try not to complain, there are others out there that are much worse than I.  I actually have it pretty good and the fact that I am able to function and live without any meds (minus prednisone) is amazing.  Some people are in such debilitating pain that they simply can't go off their meds, it's just not an option.  For this reason, I will not feel deprived when I can't eat what everyone else is eating, it's a choice for my health... a smart choice that I have to take seriously.

Here is an article that I came across on a random website...  it was a good read. (A tad long though)  Enjoy!!

Arthritis may be an allergic response to materials in the food supply. Diet

revision may be helpful in reducing the activity of inflammatory arthritis and

in some instances may halt the progression of the disease. There are many

patterns of arthritis. A group of related joint and connective disorders have

been called rheumatic diseases. All these diseases are immune-mediated, and all

are expressions of inflammation in connective tissues. Inflammation damages

joints and surrounding tissues resulting in loss of function and deformities.

Variations in the patterns of these diseases reflect the many possibilities for

immune damage to disturb and distort structure and function. Severity ranges

from mildly painful, chronic activity to drastic, disabling disease. Rheumatoid

arthritis, often severe and disabling, is the dominant rheumatic disease that

can attack all joints in the body.

Rheumatoid arthritis is often considered to be an autoimmune disease. Our idea

is that no disease is just internally generated and must involve outside

contributions. Arthritis is often associated with inflammatory bowel disease.

The mechanisms of food allergy link abnormal gastrointestinal Tract (GIT)

function with immune attacks on connective tissue. In all arthritic patients,

normal GIT function should be rigorously sought by adaptive dietary adjustments.

Simple allergic arthritis is a definite entity that is often not recognized as a

food allergy. Typically, a dramatic, acute, and painful swelling develops in one

or more joints asymmetrically. Eating a food, either an unusual food eaten for

the first time or sometimes a regular food eaten in excess usually brings on the

joint inflammation. This presentation is similar to and often confused with

gout. Any food can cause allergic arthritis. Staple foods such as milk, eggs,

and wheat (rye, oats, barley), coffee, beef, pork, and food additives are the

most common food triggers. Carinini and Brostroff reviewed the concepts of and

evidence for food-induced arthritis. They stated:

Despite an increasing interest in food allergy and the conviction of innumerable

patients with joint disease that certain foods exacerbate their symptoms,

relatively little scientific attention has been paid to this relationship.

Abnormalities of the gastrointestinal tract are commonly found in rheumatic

disease...Support for an intestinal origin of antigens comes from studies of

patients whose joint symptoms have improved on the avoidance of certain foods

antigens, and become worse on consuming them. These have included patients with

both intermittent symptoms, palindromic rheumatism and more chronic disease.

In another study, 33 of 45 patients with rheumatoid arthritis improved

significantly on a hypoallergenic diet. The authors concluded: Increasing

numbers of scientific studies suggest that dietary manipulation may help at

least some rheumatoid patients and perhaps the greatest need now is for more

careful and well-designed research so that preconceptions may be put aside and

role of diet, as a specific or even a nonspecific adjunctive therapy, may be


Unfortunately, dairy products, wheat and its close relatives, oats, barley, and

rye, have proved to be a major problem in the diets of our patients. There are

many possible reasons for cereal grains to become pathogenic. Hypersensitivity

mechanisms triggered by grain proteins, collectively called Gluten, are the

likely cause of the illnesses related to intake of cereal grains. Gluten is a

mixture of individual proteins classified in two groups, the prolamines and the

Glutelins. The prolamine fraction of gluten concerns us the most when grain

intolerance is suspected. The prolamine, gliadin, seems to be a problem in

celiac disease; gliadin antibodies are commonly found in the immune complexes

associated with this disease. Recently marketed grains, spelt and kamut, are

wheat variants (despite claims to the contrary) and are likely to cause problems

similar to other wheat varieties.

A wheat gluten mechanism has been studied in rheumatoid arthritis patients. The

clinical observation is that wheat ingestion is followed within hours by

increased joint swelling and pain. Little and his colleagues studied the

mechanism, as it developed sequentially following gluten ingestion. Dr. Parke

and colleagues concurred with this explanation of the gut-arthritis link in

their report of three patients with celiac disease and rheumatoid arthritis. The

mechanism involves several stages:

* GIT must be permeable to antigenic proteins or peptide fragments, derived

from digested gluten.

* The food antigens appear in the blood stream and are bound by a specific

antibody (probably of IgA or IgG, not IgE class), forming an antigen-antibody

complex, a circulating immune complex (CIC).

* The antigen-antibody complex then activates the rest of the immune response,

beginning with the release of mediators - serotonin is released from the blood


* Serotonin release causes symptoms as it circulates in the blood stream and

enhances the deposition of CICs in joint tissues.

Once in the joint, the immune complexes activate complement, which in turn

damages cells and activates inflammation. More inflammation results in more

pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of mobility.

Arthritis is usually treated with salicylates or related anti-inflammatory drugs

generally referred to as NSAIDs. These drugs alleviate the terrible pain of

active arthritis but do not favorably affect the outcome of the disease. All

anti-arthritic medication can produce asthma or chronic rhinitis and a variety

of allergic skin rashes. Gastrointestinal surface irritation, bleeding, and

ulceration are routine problems of anti-arthritic medication.

The first attack of joint swelling and pain should be treated as an urgent

problem to be solved. Inflammation may damage joints. Often NSAIDs and

physiotherapy are the only treatments prescribed and inflammation is given every

opportunity to ravage tissues. We have seen countless patients, just treated

with NSAIDs, who progressed rapidly to a severe disabling disease, often with

poor pain control. In unlucky patients, severe deformities of joints accumulate

in the first few months of a severe attack. There is a trend to recommend more

aggressive treatments, using drugs that impair the immune response. The best

drug is prednisone, but it is seldom used because it has long-term side effects

which scare both physicians and patients. Prednisone is often a magic drug that

relieves terrible pain and suffering often in the first 48 hours of therapy.

Beyond prednisone, there is a grab bag of immune suppressant drugs to treat

arthritis-chloroquine, penicillamine, gold and methotrexate have emerged as the

favored drug therapies. All these drugs have impressive side effects and great

potential for toxicity.

Our preference is to try to stop the inflammatory activity as soon as possible

with diet revision. All inflammation is likened to a fire. You get out the

fire-extinguishers and go to work. No matter what pattern the immune attack

assumes, our standard defense can be tried first. The Core Program method of

diet revision is used. Food is replaced with an elemental nutrient formula,

ENFood, for a clearing period of 10 to 20 days. Prednisone and/or NSAIDs are

drug options during the clearing period and then the dosage is reduced after

pain and swelling have subsided. Improvement is followed by slow food

reintroduction (see Core Program). Each returning food is carefully screened for

arthritis- triggering effects. You hope that food allergy caused the problem and

that food control can be successful controlling the disease in the long- term.

Nothing is lost by taking this approach and complete control of the disease can

sometimes be obtained. If strict food control proves to be inadequate, then

other drug treatments can be instituted.


  1. HI Jen,
    Is it possible that you still have the link for this article?
    I just found your blog. I'm so pleased that you've been blogging your progress! I'm in a similar situation. I have post-partum triggered RA. I've been to specialists who discount any diet/RA connection. The only answers they provide are toxic pharmaceuticals. I'm currently on a NSAID & DMARD, which I am not happy about. But your blog has inspired me to go back to the diet connection. I was on a Hypoallergenic diet for almost a year. Lately I've been focusing on avoiding gluten. But as my joints are starting to seize up (I too do the "fist test" when I wake up!) & the DMARD hasn't kicked in yet, I have to be pro-active again!
    Could you post your current "safe food" list?
    Looking forward to your next post!

  2. Hi Zoey!
    Can you send me an email to jen_mcconnery@yahoo.ca and I'd be happy to provide you with all that info. I am so glad you found my blog and are willing to try working on nutrition. My experience with my RA and even my sons eczema was that unfortunately most specialists and doctors do discount the connections with health and diet. It's really too bad. Once I get your email, I will send you everything that I am eating, as well as the details of the elimination diet. I will help you through it!

  3. ps I'm curious how you did stumble across it... I'm trying to post it in random sites and have friends and family forward it on... where did you find it? Thanks!!