Nutrition vs.meds

I have been reading up on different RA nutrition programs,and mostly the people who designed these are saying RA meds make the disease even worse without treating it. However, they claim that the nutrition programs act on stabilizing the gut bacteria and can cure RA.

While obviously everyone should follow a super healthy diet ,my question is this:

I am on RA meds now. I have been diagnosed about 2 months ago. If i start an "RA"diet and start feeling better...how can one be sure that its the diet and not the meds that are doing the job?

Also Im Sero negative so my blood work never showed anything that would indicate inflamation only my exam, Xrays and general overall feeling like im 90 years old(im only 36)....

Right now im really confused. I have inflamation.im afraid of i dont take my meds (MTX,Prednisolone and plaquinil,folic acid+Calcium and vitamin D) that my inflamation is going to destroy and disfigure me. Could there be an alternative route to meds? How do we know? Or should we do both ?

I was feeling very relieved when i got diagnosed,as i thought that once we knew what it is I would just take the meds and feel better. But im finding that there are a lot of hick ups on the way. Im not always feeling better and after reading posts on here,it seems it can take a long time to find the right combo of meds that work. And nutrition is key for a healthy life style,but how to balance everything and again wjos to say its the nutrition that is making ur condition better all of a sudden when your blood work cant show evidence of anything being wrong in the first place.....

Sorry im just a bit overwhelmed here.

5 Replies

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  • Hi

    Not surprised your overwhelmed.....there is just so much to try and take in.

    I think the majority of people take the drugs provided and try to eat/ live as healthily as possible. Its very early days for you, and evidence seems to point to early treatment being very important for a good outcome. I would just follow your rheumys advice .....the RA meds do treat the disease.....they can modify or alter its course......so once you get things under control, you hopefully won't need the pred any more, or anti inflammatories because the disease is being controlled by the dmards. There is currently no cure, if diet could cure us, I'm pretty certain the NHS wouldn't be spending the money they are on some of the very expensive drugs they use to treat RA .....I'm costing the NHS a fortune now I'm on biologics......but, I'm worth it 😊.

    Best advice I can give is to take your meds, try and relax and look after yourself.....plenty of sleep,rest,exercise and good healthy food. You could always try one of the diet " cures" later on once you are settled on the meds and have things under control.

  • It is a dilemma, as so many unknowns. By the time I was diagnosed I was so desperate that there was no question of not taking the meds - i wanted to be able to walk, and dress myself and cut up food again!.

    But like you I did then start questioning things. It took quite a while for the meds to get to work, but when they started to control things what I did was to try out a dietary approach alongside meds. After about a year when the disease was pretty well controlled I then started to drop down doses of the meds. Which very quickly showed me that I still needed the meds! However I do credit the diet for really helping me cope with the drugs asI have virtually no side effects from triple therapy. And while I now am much more relaxed about what I eat I still stick to a pretty healthy diet (eat, not too much, and mainly plants....). I also believe exercise is as important as diet.

    I am séropositive, but have naturally low inflammation levels so I go by how I feel rather than the blood results. Luckily my rheumy was someone who also looked at the person not the numbers on the paper so it all worked quite well. But it does take a long time. Sorry! But you'll get there in the end.

  • Totally agree with HH. you are right to question things, especially as these heavy meds can bring their own issues but for me, the significant factor is that whilst your RA is active, the meds can slow it down/ modify it preventing significant damage - I do not believe diet could do the same and so Immediately?

    However, diet and exercise absolutely have a role to

    Play but please , give yourself time, physically and emotionally, to get where you need to be.

    Best of luck with everything.

    Marie

  • The sad fact is that you can never be sure. The meds may work and then again they may not, the elimination diets may work and then again they may not. Lots of evidence for the efficacy of both the difference being the adverse side effects with meds and their limited time of efficacy, the diet supports your normal immunefunction often optimized with important supplements has no side effects but the risk remains concerning erosion. This risk however remains even with meds.

    I was in your situation a year ago and can only tell you of my experience. I was diagnosed with seronegative CCP positive RA, wanted to begin by trying an anti inflammatory diet (AIP) combined with LDN and important supplements. After 3ms my fatigue and brainfog were gone, pain and symptoms reduced 80%. Bloods ok, no erosion seen on mri after a year.

    Yes as you said everyone is different and there is an abundance of forms of RA. Making a educated decision on what treatment route to choose is really not easy if you want to see the whole picture, dietary options included.

    Meds together with dietary measures has been seen as a good idea by those who have tried. Diet and supplements may protect your gut and support your normal microbiome. Those who have found diet useful with meds have gradually been able to reduce the meds.

    You might be interested to look into antiinflammatory diets like, AIP, Wahls autoimmune protocol and Clint Paddisons protocol. There is an abundance of anecdotal evidence on the efficacy of these diets. Tom O'Bryons book "The Autoimmune Fix" gives you a comprahensive overview where new research on the topic is. About LDN you can find info here: ldnresearchtrust.org. The best of luck to you and hope this is of some help😊

  • Isabella81 - I share your frustration: a good place to start looking at is the Pod casts of phoenixhelix.com - Eileen has RA, takes Methotexate (MTX) and follows an adaptation of AIP diet that suits her. Her site has lots of information from American functional medicine Drs (the US&Canada seem more advanced than UK on such matters maybe as they have to pay more for healthcare, so individuals try to address the causation. NHS seems so behind the curve with diet, but really AIP diet and reintroduction of foods would be too complicated to implement for everyone).

    I was diagnosed 1year ago with RA (Seropostive), was put on MTX 10mg then 15mg. I had CCP makers, Rheumatoid factor, climbing ESR <went to 50m/hr in at one stage), I went to a nutritionist, and went on a 5mth Autoimmune Protocol diet and got my ESR blood maker down to 25m/hr -5months later. I went off MTX for 6 months at the ESR lowered marker reading with consent of Rheumatologist as I had no physical symptoms <<just bad osteoporosis in my DIPjoints) and I wanted to concentrate on gut heal. I continued maintained a Paleo type diet < I did a bit of self sabotage and strayed off the diet)>. From the beginning of 2017, my RA has come back, but my inflammation is 34m/hr, so I am doing something right, and I am now back on 10mg of injectable MTX.

    My point is, you have to do everything to try and control this disease ( I now have a very sore right wrist) but my take away on this is:

    - you have to press on with the diet help heal your gut/ inflammation even if your on medication - it still has impact.

    - functional medicine people on Eileen's site (Phoenix Helix) say it takes time to heal; just as it take time to develop RA.

    - their suggestion includes eliminating all gluten (including corn, grains); this seems to be the bottom line

    - cut down on sugar

    - increase your vegetable intake (with AIP recommended vegetables & some fruit) - aim for 6-9 cups of veg per day. Include ginger, ( a smoothie with an inch of ginger, banana, kale, pear, or blueberries and coconut milk (without the rice, soya, or grape juice concentrate)- hard to find one that is AIP) is a good option to up some veg content. It's is interesting on this point that only recently UK dietary guidelines have gone from the 5 a day mantra to 10 servings of fruit and veg.

    - cut out on diary or include specific forms (Seamus Mullen a New York chef who had RA/ now healed, has good advice and recipe inspiration to follow on Facebook, and online..<ie sounds simple but toss olive oil, lemon rhind and seasoning on veg before seaming> that way you can eat lots and it tastes great). Remember to include raw salads etc in your diet). Seamus also includes some unparturised cheeses and fermented milk kefir which you could try if you didn't want to go dairy free. It's possible to make your own.

    - I went to a nutritionist and got supplement advice and it's probably best way forward on that. So, specifically for me, I take Vitimin D lick (called Bio D Mulsion), 2x 1100mg of Pure fish oil, 2x MagAsorb, and I did a gut cleanse with Emulsied Oil of Oregano, and I take L Glutamine.

    - take a probiotic - Symprove is the best one that I have tried.

    - try including fermented foods, organ meat, bone broth in your cooking.

    - a good outcome of the AIP diet or similar, means you loose weight and your body will function better. Excercise , of course, plays a big part, it is often said and seems to be true.

    The annoying thing with all of this is that it is time consuming, and with some things, expensive to implement. Don't give up, try not to self sabotage with food on the diet (I have to keep my 70% chocolate addiction in check), and hopefully you will get into remission - that's my goal.

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