Anyone used diet/weight loss to treat psoriatic arthr... - NRAS

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Anyone used diet/weight loss to treat psoriatic arthritis?


I have a rheumatologist's referral for suspected psoriatic arthritis. I've been reading up on the condition and I see that it is linked to obesity, and it seems to be that obesity can cause it, rather than the other way round.

I am overhauling my diet, without dieting, just cleaning it up to remove sugar, and I'm going to try to step up my exercise (not easy with a lot of foot and back pain). I wondered if anyone had tried dietary changes and/or exercise changes and if they'd made any difference. If so I'd love to hear from you.

I'm particularly interested to hear whether weight loss itself, or improved diet, actually made the most difference to your pain. I appreciate those two things are very hard to separate, but any hard-won data from your trials and errors would be most gratefully received. Thanks!

23 Replies

With or without RA ,losing weight helps knees and back pain., but its keeping it off when the problem recurs. I have had psoriatic arthritis since I was 7 years old, tried diets, and leaving out strawberries, grapefruit whatever the specialist said. In those days you did what the doctor said lol. Old and new meds, methotrexate and biologics etc. Still have severe psoriasis but the RA does ease occasionally.. do what's best for you and hopefully you'll find some relieve. It's not all doom and gloom I've had a lovely life and will continue to do my best. Jane (76 last week).

Chancery in reply to chubby2x22

Thanks, Chubby. I think RA has more of a genetic component, and also that there's a lot or rumours circulate about diet with it but none of them are proven.

I have severe psoriatic arthritis and I’ve always been very slim . Food/weight in my case has had no relevance or impact on the disease so far .

Chancery in reply to Evaflo10s

No, it sounds like yours maybe has a strong genetic element? I think if you have a strong genetic leaning, it probably doesn't take so much of an environmental factor to trigger it. Probably, also, there are other things that can trigger PsA, like injury and trauma to the body.

I’ve tried cutting out..... fats, dairy, sugars, wheat and even booze. I tried eating more ..... fish, fruit, veg to name but a few.

Had no impact whatsoever.

However exercise greatly helps as does fresh air and sunshine. Keeping active helps me way more than fad dieting etc!

Stay young and invincible !

Chancery in reply to Jamarruk

I find exercise a bit tricky because I have so much pain in my feet and back that it can be an ordeal rather than pleasurable, and also when I get tired, I get REALLY tired which can make exercise downright embarrassing! But I try to walk every day.

I’ve got RA, so not the same as you but I hope my comments help anyway. I started following an autoimmune protocol (so , not a diet as such - a lifestyle). When I followed it religiously I was off all medication (I had to at the time because of blood test results which they felt medication was responsible for) and I had no symptoms at all. I saw a nutritionalist and bought Sarah Ballantyne’s book.

Good luck with your situation.

Chancery in reply to Jan31

That's very interesting, Jan, thank you. Could you tell me the name of the book, and also if you know anywhere where I could see the autoimmune protocol laid out?

I agree with Jan31, I have ra and fibro and believe autoimmune diseases come from the gut! Too much bad bacteria which live off sugars and refined carbs not enough good bacteria. A condition called Dysbiosis.🙈

I have RA and I’m doing an elimination diet in the hope I will discover what foods inflame my system. So far I’ve learnt potatos aren’t that good for me. I’ve still got lots more food to reintroduce (I’m dreading finding out I can’t drink coffee!!!). I’ve been on the diet for 4 weeks and I’ve lost 4kg and I’ve got loads of energy, so it’s a good lifestyle change for me.

I went to an Oxford NRAS talk on how a damaged gut biome may be responsible for autoimmune illnesses. So there’s definitely a link between the two.

I would advocate for a change in diet because research seems to suggest there is a link. I hope this helps x

I've done Fodmaps in the past, for gut issues, which I've had for years, but it is a very limiting diet. Very effective though!

I have sero-positive RA, not psoriatic arthritis. So take this FWIW. For thirty years I've been anywhere from very slim to still-nowhere-near-overweight, and I've eaten a very healthy, Mediterranean type mostly vegetarian diet. None of that stopped me from getting RA. I have a rather strong family history of it and other AI illnesses, so no doubt there's also a genetic component at work. Since diagnosis I've toyed around with my diet even more to see if it makes any difference, and it does not. Now I don't doubt that changing up diet certainly may make a difference for some people. Depending on what one has been eating there may be tons of room for improvement, and improving on a not-so-great diet may help a person feel better in many areas. But I think from my own personal experience and from what I've heard from others, that for many people what we eat or don't eat doesn't matter one bit as far as our arthritis. I can't speak from personal experience about the effect weight loss might have since that's never been an issue for me. But it stands to reason that losing weight is going to result in less stress on weight bearing joints.

Exercise does make me feel better usually, but it's always a trick of finding how much is helpful versus how much is too much and becomes harmful. I think it's safe to say that those of us with any form of arthritis need to disavow the "no pain no gain" saying! Gentle exercise like walking and yoga (or my own cobbled together version of Yoga-like stretching) seems to help me the most.

Good luck!

Chancery in reply to Pawz4me

Absolutely Pawz. I think RA has more of a genetic profile, and having a family history will make it far more likely. I don't think diet plays much role in RA , if the science is to be believed. With PsA the diet issue appears to be in people who develop psoriasis later. It's associated with diabetes and metabolic syndrome, so I'm guessing it's something to do with the inflammatory nature of that triggering psoriasis. That's why diet would work, because it's reversing the inflammation - at least in theory!

I have psa and I've always being a normal weight in fact now my family are complaining I'm too thin. This type of arthritis can run in families so I got it from my dad so chances were I was always going to get it no matter what ate. I haven't changed my diet much since diagnosed as I always ate healthy anyway but I have given up drinking wine due to taking methotrexate. Nowadays I try to walk a couple of times a week but it is hard on the feet but I feel so much better in myself afterwards. Also swimming is good. Hopefully you find a plan that works for you.

You've been one of the unlucky genetic lottery winners!

The only thing that's clear about loss of weight is that it takes the weight off your weight bearing joints! And that helps with pain and activity and makes you feel better.

But I can't see from the evidence so far that a cure is possible by dietary manipulation in most people, although there are occasional individuals who have success (lucky them!).

Chancery in reply to oldtimer

The research is on the development of psoriasis at a later date and its association with diabetes and metabolic syndrome. The research is quite consistent that it's correlated with obesity and that weight loss reverses it, but genetics is always going to be in there too. Plus it's not easy to lose weight and even harder to keep it off.

I have psoriatic arthritis for many years, I did not get my diagnosis til 2012. I tried diet changes such as gluten free, eating healthy, I was very trim most my adult life, not so much now 😑 but not obese. I did not get any joint pain relief with diet changes. I am now on Orencia infusion and getting some relief now thankfully! I have read and researched that it has helped many though, so you should certainly give it a try. Trial & error of what foods trigger flares for you, in my experience there is no one size fits all plan. I hope you find what works best for you.

Orencia infusion? I've never heard of that. Is it a tea or some such?

Deeb2908 in reply to Chancery

had to look it up but here it is

Orencia (abatacept) is a recombinant DNA generated fusion protein used to treat the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and to prevent joint damage caused by these conditions. Orencia is also used to treat arthritis in children who are at least 6 years old. Orencia is not a cure for any autoimmune disorder and only treats symptoms. Common side effects of Orencia include:

Chancery in reply to Deeb2908

Thanks, Deeb. So it's medication then? Presumably a prescription medication. I'll Google it and see if it's a UK med. Thanks again!

It is an biologic drug given through an iv... It suppresses inflammation and helps stop bone damage.

Thanks, iluv!

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