Antioxidants in vegan diet and rheumatic disorders

Toxicology. 2000 Nov 30;155(1-3):45-53. doi: 10.1016/s0300-483x(00)00276-6.


Plants are rich natural sources of antioxidants in addition to other nutrients. Interventions and cross sectional studies on subjects consuming uncooked vegan diet called living food (LF) have been carried out. We have clarified the efficacy of LF in rheumatoid diseases as an example of a health problem where inflammation is one of the main concerns. LF is an uncooked vegan diet and consists of berries, fruits, vegetables and roots, nuts, germinated seeds and sprouts, i.e. rich sources of carotenoids, vitamins C and E. The subjects eating LF showed highly increased levels of beta and alfa carotenes, lycopen and lutein in their sera. Also the increases of vitamin C and vitamin E (adjusted to cholesterol) were statistically significant. As the berry intake was 3-fold compared to controls the intake of polyphenolic compounds like quercetin, myricetin and kaempherol was much higher than in the omnivorous controls. The LF diet is rich in fibre, substrate of lignan production, and the urinary excretion of polyphenols like enterodiol and enterolactone as well as secoisolaricirecinol were much increased in subjects eating LF. The shift of fibromyalgic subjects to LF resulted in a decrease of their joint stiffness and pain as well as an improvement of their self-experienced health. The rheumatoid arthritis patients eating the LF diet also reported similar positive responses and the objective measures supported this finding. The improvement of rheumatoid arthritis was significantly correlated with the day-to-day fluctuation of subjective symptoms. In conclusion the rheumatoid patients subjectively benefited from the vegan diet rich in antioxidants, lactobacilli and fibre, and this was also seen in objective measures.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / analysis
  • Antioxidants / metabolism*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / diet therapy*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / physiopathology
  • Carotenoids / blood
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Diet, Vegetarian*
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Eating
  • Female
  • Fibromyalgia / diet therapy*
  • Fibromyalgia / physiopathology
  • Flavonoids / analysis
  • Flavonols
  • Fruit / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Lactobacillus
  • Lignans / analysis
  • Middle Aged
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vegetables / chemistry


  • Antioxidants
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Flavonoids
  • Flavonols
  • Lignans
  • Carotenoids