Nutritional status of Danish rheumatoid arthritis patients and effects of a diet adjusted in energy intake, fish-meal, and antioxidants

Scand J Rheumatol. 1996;25(5):325-30. doi: 10.3109/03009749609104066.


This study deals with the nutritional status of Danish RA patients and address the question of whether or not RA can be directly influenced by dietary manipulation. In a prospective, single-blinded study of 6 months duration, 109 patients with active RA were randomly assigned to either treatment with or without a specialized diet. The energy consumption was adjusted to normal standards of body weights and the intake of fish meals and antioxidants were increased. A daily food diary was completed by the patients, and the total intake of 47 different food-elements was calculated. Nutritional status together with disease activity parameters were recorded. At baseline, the Danish RA-patients had neglected food habits with a significant reduction in intake of total energy, of D-vitamin and of E-vitamin. A very low intake of n-3 fatty acids was also found. During the study, 28 of the 109 patients dropped out, introducing a confounding effect on the overall result. In the remaining 81, those following the diet demonstrated a significant improvement in the duration of morning stiffness, number of swollen joints, pain status, and reduced cost of medicine, while doctors global assessment, laboratory data, X-ray, and daily activities were unaltered. In conclusion, dietary analysis and appropriate, corrective advice should be offered to Danish RA patients.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / diet therapy*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / physiopathology
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Diet Records
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Energy Intake
  • Fatty Acids / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Single-Blind Method


  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids