Dietary Therapy in Patients With Inflammatory Arthritis

Altern Ther Health Med. 2017 Jan;23(1):34-39.


Context • The exact etiology of rheumatoid disease is currently unknown. Changes in the microbiota of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, chronic bacterial infection of the upper urinary tract, increased permeability of the GI tract, and food sensitivities have been classified among the factors that may cause or aggravate the disease. Dietary deficiencies also may render patients more susceptible to inflammatory conditions and disorders of the immunological system. Objective • The study intended to determine the effects of a therapy consisting of dietary elimination, dietary supplements, and probiotics, collectively called DDP therapy, which is given either independently or in combination with conventional pharmacological agents. Design • The research team designed a retrospective survey, sending out a detailed questionnaire to determine the outcomes for patients who had received DDP therapy. Setting • The study took place at an antioxidant clinic in Helsinki, Finland. Participants • The participants were 104 patients with inflammatory arthritis who had undergone DDP therapy at the clinic. Intervention • The dietary elimination in DDP therapy included the omission of all animal milks, wheat, rye, barley, and oats, and the patients were asked to avoid added sugar and yeast. The dietary supplements included multivitamins with the main antioxidants, n-3-omega polyunsaturated fatty acids, and curcuminoids. The probiotic supplement most often used consisted of a mixture of 109 CFU/d of Bifidobacterium lactis and 109 CFU/d of Lactobacillus rhamnosus. Outcome Measures • The physician who had given the DDP therapy analyzed the patients' case histories to form his opinion on the efficacy of the therapy. In addition, a detailed questionnaire was sent to the 104 patients to obtain their evaluations of the outcomes for the DDP therapy. Results • Seventy-nine of the 104 patients (76%) returned their questionnaires. Of those respondents, 72 patients (91%) were taking conventional medication at baseline and 64 (81%) were using disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs. The average duration of their disease was 6.9 y. Seventy patients (88.6%) reported that they had benefited overall from the DDP therapy, expressed as a diminished need for conventional medications and/or an improvement in general health. Sixty-six of the patients (83.5%) reported a moderate or significant improvement in their joint symptoms. Reported adverse effects from DDP therapy were few and mild. Conclusions • This study demonstrates that patients with inflammatory arthritis perceive benefits from DDP therapy, and the risks appear to be low.

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis / therapy*
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Humans
  • Probiotics*
  • Retrospective Studies