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Arthritis Action
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Foods and osteoarthritis

Hi there, I'm wondering if anyone has any opinions regarding the different foods that may make inflammation in osteoarthritis worse? I've been reading various literature and there's a list of different types of foods that everyone generally agrees on (fried foods, red meat, refined sugar, alcohol, tobacco etc).

I have a couple of definite food intolerances (dairy, soya, alcohol). I gave up gluten last year as I was ill and I kind of made the assumption that that was the next step. However recently I've decided to actually test this out properly, which I'm now doing. I'm back on gluten and I'm now having a flare up of my OA in my hands and I've developed new symptoms in my knees. Reading up on this, the thoughts on whether gluten can make OA worse are not conclusive at all. I was wondering if anyone had any experience of this?

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Have you thought about having your hair tested?

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Hi there, unfortunately, from what I've read, that's not a very accurate test. Also, even if it was, I'm not sure it would indicate which foods would cause inflammation. It might indicate intolerances, but not necessarily inflammation. Thanks anyway.

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It is true food intolerance can effect arthritis symptoms. You are doing well at detecting what effects you. Each arthritis is affected by different foods in different people. So it is very much a case of testing on yourself by process of illimination. One clear example is liver is full of nutrients but is high in cholestral and purins, so is not necessarily healthy food for certain illness including Gout which is arthritic, just to name one food misconception. So keep up the good work as it may help others to know, I never realised gluten could effect arthritis.Thank you

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Hi there, thanks for the reply. I know gluten can affect people with autoimmune diseases like RA, but I'm not sure it is a definite for OA, it just seems weird that my OA seems worse when I'm eating gluten. It might just be co-incidence, but if others are finding the same thing then maybe there's more to it?

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Is there something called a corn test that you can have done to find out if you have food allergies or not?

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I've not heard of a corn test. The medical profession can test for genuine allergies using patch testing and some blood tests, depending on the allergy . However for intolerances, which is something quite different, there are no tests that reliably work from what I've read (apart from a breath test for lactose intolerance). The best way to work out if you're intolerant to a food is to eliminate it completely from your diet for a period of several weeks, then try the food again and see how you feel with and without it. Sometimes you may need to do that a few times to confirm it.

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I have done the elimination thing and it worked for me, you are right, it is the best way.

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Hi, I am intolerant to gluten and cows milk but avoiding these has not made any difference to my osteoarthritis. My chiropractor has advised that avoiding tomatoes and peppers can make a difference although I haven't tried this yet.

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Oh that's interesting to know, thanks for that.

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Tomatoes and peppers are part of the nightshade family, as are aubergines and potatoes. A lot of sources will say to avoid nightshade family if you have an autoimmune condition, but there isn’t a lot of actual evidence that they are a problem.

From those that have done an elimination diet it seems some feel nightshades to be problematic and some don’t, there’s only one way to find out unfortunately!

🙏🏻

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Yes I've read that too. I don't have an autoimmune condition and, as far as I can tell, nightshades don't cause me a problem. I have to avoid so many foods (dairy, gluten, soya, alcohol and not too many nuts) that I'm reluctant to avoid anything else unless I have to. Funnily enough, I'm back off gluten (I did react significantly to it) and now my hands aren't feeling quite as bad, so maybe my aches and pains do get worse when I'm eating foods I'm intolerant to. It's not scientific I know, but I do suspect that may be the case.

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Well there are certainly a lot of folks with RA type conditions that swear elimination diets have helped them a lot, there are also a lot that swear it makes no difference.

There is also a school of thought that the distinction between RA (autoimmune inflammatory) and OA (wear and tear) may not be as clear as was thought and that there may be an inflammatory component to some cases of OA, in which case (if you subscribe to the idea that diet influences inflammation) diet may well have an impact on OA.

One thing I would say though is that once the damage has been done to a joint it will likely be painful whatever diet you go on. Diet can only address the ongoing inflammation (if it does) not the damage already done.

🙂

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Yes, well that certainly makes sense!

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I am coming late to this thread but thought I would share my own experience. I have discovered that diet does affect my pain level quite considerably. Whilst trying to loose weight to take the pressure off my osteoarthritic knees I decided to try grapefruit for breakfast - big mistake - excruciating pain! So started reading around foods to avoid and like others here I am now trying to avoid the deadly nightshade family foods ( tomatoes ,peppers ,potatoes and aubergines) and some fruit /juices ( orange and grapefruit) I have also begun to take apple cider vinegar ( 1 dsp) mixed with honey (1tsp) in a small cup of hot water before each meal. This suggestion came from the book by Margaret Hills SRN titled ‘Curing Arthritis the Drug Free Way ‘ .( first published 1985)

Definitely worth a read and lots of encouraging stories of patients who after several months of following her diet regime ,are pain free. I am not yet at that point but feel I have made improvements so now taking less medication and moving more easily.I would be interested to hear others experience following this or other food plans .

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