Anti-inflammatory/Antioxidant Diets for PMR and GCA

When I was first diagnosed with PMR, I searched the literature for evidence that a diet based anti-inflammatory regimen would help offset the pro-inflammatory cytokines responsible for my disease. What I initially found was dozens of papers, (by seemingly credible sources) that promised a significant anti-inflammatory benefit by simply consuming antioxidant rich foods and taking antioxidant supplements.

While I was encouraged by what I found, further research provided little more than anecdotal evidence to support all of the hype and promise. Furthermore, the highly promoted (and often expensive) antioxidant supplements were generating 2.25 billion dollars per year to unregulated manufacturers who are not required to verify the content or efficacy of their products.

When I changed my search criteria to include antioxidants, I found the credible scientific studies I was looking for, but rather than supporting the value of alternative anti-inflammatory therapies, they questioned them. The most informative study I found was published in the British Journal of Pharmacology and titled “The oxidative stress theory of disease: levels of evidence and epistemological aspects” by Pietro Ghezzi, August 4, 2016.

Unfortunately, I had to go to my local hospital medical library to read this study, as there are no free online copies, but a synopsis of Dr. Ghezzi’s paper is included in the following link:

Lastly please understand that while integrative medicine can have significant clinical value, there are also many unproven cures that are presented as science based fact. Regrettably, the promise of these remedies presents a powerful lure to sick and desperate patients and often includes costly herbs and/or supplements.

My recommendation to all PMR/GCA sufferers is to consume a healthy balanced diet that addresses the vitamin and mineral deficiencies that are inherent to long-term steroids use. And most of all, take the time to do your own research and “BEWARE THE SHAMAN HEALER”.

20 Replies

  • Greetings Admiral06

    Thanks for an informative and well-researched post, I think your para. 5 sums up much (but of course not all) of the alternative therapy industry.

    This reminds me of the old joke about pharmaceutical companies and their (sometimes conflicting) commercial interests. It goes along these lines:

    Clinical Director to Sales / Commercial Director: "We must invest more in R,D&M: that is, Researching, Developing and Marketing treatments for diseases where there are none, currently. That will boost our profits".

    Sales Director in response: "No, we only need to be working on M: that is, Marketing a cheap-to-produce, high ticket Miracle Treatment for which there's no known disease (yet..) - that will be even more profitable!".

    You (and others here) might like to take a look at a 'bombshell' book that I read a few years ago on this, and related topics. 'Manufacturing Depression' by Gary Greenberg is a fascinating take on the topic of Pathologisation and all of its ramifications for the medical profession, pharma companies (and their shareholders), patients, and physical / mental health practitioners who have an interest one way or another.

    That said, very few can challenge the power of the placebo, sheer belief, personal philosophy or spirituality for some in the process of dealing with the Human Condition. There's another old saying: 'if it works, you don't need to ask why'.

    Happy reading!

    MB :-)

  • Thanks markbenjamin57,

    I have a pharmacologist friend who informed that the treatment arm and the placebo arm in the clinical trials for the antihistamine Claritin were only 1% apart. When Sudafed was added to make Claritin-D they had a blockbuster. The moral of the story is Sudafed works! Another tidbit is that injectable saline placebos always get a much higher clinical response than oral placebos, because patients "know" injectables med are much more powerful.

    As always, there are the sheep and the sheep shearers...........Brrrrrr

  • Thanks too, Admiral06, I'm sure we're on a wavelength here.

    I think / hope this thread will run and run (unlike some of the sheep - lamb steaks for dinner tonight..)!

    All good wishes to you from a cold, dark and wet UK. Keep up your insightful posts - it's nice to follow them.

    MB :-)

  • LOL markbenjamin57

    Lamb steak, Mmmmm! We will be right over with a nice bottle of California cabernet.

    As for weather, it was a beautiful sunny day here in the High Peaks Region of the Northern Adirondacks, with a temperature of 14 degrees F. Last night the bell rang at 4.9 below zero, but tonight it will be 5 above. Much better than the 20-30 below that we have experienced here in past years.

    On Friday my wife and I went up on Whiteface Mountain to watch the world cup mogul competition. It was 20 degrees, but a 25 mph northwest wind, gusting to 35 mph, was coming across the course. One of the contestants was in the middle of a trick when the wind hit him and caused him to crash land.

    The world cup aerial competition was last night (Saturday) and the weather was a balmy 27 degrees with light wind. The tricks get better every year and this year was the very best yet! Perhaps you will see these events on your TV soon.

    Best wishes to you and I hope your weather improves.

  • My mother spent the last year of her life using shark cartilage it was extremely expensive. It did nothing for her but take her money and her time. Each time we invite her to do something she couldn't due to having to do her shark enema. She died of colon cancer at age 67 she refused chemo.

    Sorry for changing topic but supplements are not always what they say.

  • In my opinion, no supplement is what it claims to do on the packet!

  • A friend of mine was very keen on supplements of all kinds- she took 13 different vitamin and mineral tablets daily. None of them were prescribed. She suddenly started having hair loss and skin problems and when I had the temerity to suggest it could be all the tablets she was taking I was completely rebuffed. Fortunately we had a mutual friend who was a retired practice nurse and I told her about our friend. She interceded on my behalf and explained how these supplements might be contributing to her problems. So it was. I believe firmly in not taking anything unnecessary except a healthy , balanced diet and medication prescribed as long as it works.

  • In the same way as you, Admiral06, when I was first diagnosed I hoped I might find an 'antinflammatory' diet so I could avoid taking the steroids. However, I arrived at the same conclusion, so try to eat as healthy a diet as possible, with just a cheap and cheerful one-a-day multivitamin and mineral tablet to cover any gaps - I think it's about 3p a day, so I feel I can afford that!

  • You may find you don't need a lot of the items in the multi vitamin. It may be more sensible to find out what you may be missing and spend the money just on that.

  • I agree, but it's very difficult to find out whether my diet is deficient in a specific vitamin or mineral and easier to take the tablet! They are so cheap, (especially when on BOGOF offer!) and to buy individual vitamin or mineral supplements would be far more expensive.

    I do eat a really healthy diet, so I realise I'm probably wasting my 3.2p/day, but this diagnosis has been a blow to my confidence, so I want to cover all possibilities.

  • As modern agriculture has now been shown to be depleting our soil of micronutrients your multivitamin could be a bit of insurance against that. Google modern agriculture and soil micronutrients. For example:

  • Very interesting. I met my husband at an organic gardening class 28 years ago!

  • I am also and organic gardener: I use "Organic Chemicals".

  • I have managed to get blood tests for quite a few vitamins and minerals. Vit B12, folates, vit D, potassium, calcium ... for starters. I just ask the nurse to include them and she does.

  • This is an excellent solution!

  • Good luck, hope you can get the blood tests OK. I am always really interested in my blood test results.

  • Have started doing the same. Very difficult to get all the proper nutrition needed in this day and age. Without testing....we really don't know what might be missing until there is a problem.

  • I was thinking more of minerals such as zinc, boron, manganese, copper etc and trace elements such as selenium, chromium, molybdenum and so on, which aren't routinely measured, but may or may not be lacking in my diet. Tomorrow I'm having the blood tests you mention!

  • I read somewhere that, if you want your home-gown fruit and vegetables packed with nutrition and organic 'goodness', then horse manure is the answer. Personally, I prefer a just a dob of herb butter on the veg and bio-yoghurt with the fruit.. ;-)

    Happy and smiley weekend all!

    MB :-)

  • I like your philosophy markbenjamin57!

    Plants absorb nitrogen, phosphorus, and potash at the molecular level. They cant tell if the source is organic or chemical. I also had Cornell University test my soil for minerals and microneutrients and they were all there.

    A significant problem with manure (especially chicken) is that pathogens that can't be washed off can get trapped in porocytes (micro pores) in the surface of green leafy vegetables that are not cooked. The probability of getting Enterobacter or Coliform (present in the feces of all warm blooded animals) from organically grown lettuce is 600% greater than conventionally grown.

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