Anti-inflammatory diets

Whilst the information booklets (NHS, UK) for PMR/GCA given to me when I was diagnosed with both conditions in July 2015, briefly touch on diet with a short list of foods based on calcium intake, I recently checked out anti-inflammatory diets to see if this would help. I bought the books "The Anti-Inflammatory Diet and Action Plan" by Dorothy Calimeris and Sonia Bruner which focuses on a gluten free diet of mainly fresh meat, fish, poultry, fruit and veg and "The Autoimmune Solution" by Amy Myers MD (US) who advocates the same with regard to gluten and diet content, but goes much further in providing a medical explanation why the right diet is essential and makes for very credible reading. Amy herself had "Graves" disease, so she has first hand knowledge of a medical condition caused by the breakdown of the auto-immune system. She has also undertaken extensive research. The latter publication in particular is convincing me that I should give an anti-inflammatory diet a try, I was just wondering if anyone else had tried this and, if so, did it help your PMR and/or GCA? The diet is a very healthy one, although expensive as the suggestion is that it should all be organic, but it is initially for 30 days so if the end result is that you feel better then it has got to be worth a try.

Thankyou. LizM

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  • There is a lady (in Oz) on another forum who had a lot of problems and tried one of these type of diets and found a lot of relief in the first few months including a notable loss of weight (she did have plenty to lose as she admitted herself). However - she found both the strictures and the cost hard work and gave up after a while. It is also not entirely sure she has PMR and now is getting fantastic results with tocilizumab.

    My own diet is to all intents and purposes the same as the first one you mention. I've tried gluten-free (I eat very little carb anyway), low/no dairy, no alcohol - I honestly can't say any of them made any difference I could notice.

    The only way to tell is by trying it and assessing whether it makes enough difference to you to be worth it in terms of cost and effort. But I would say that maybe the science and research they claim is perhaps not always reliable. Not having read them I can't express an opinion though remember, they are cashing in on others desire to find a miracle cure.

  • Thank you so much for responding to my post, it is really appreciated. I have also just seen a similar recent post on the forum relating to diet, for which your response was very helpful, as always. I do agree that the cost of an organic diet would be challenging long term, as well as it being restrictive in what you can eat, but if it results in feeling better overall then it might just be worth it. If I do decide to follow Amy Myers diet for the initial 30 days, or a similar AF diet, then I will post the results on the forum.

    Best wishes Liz

  • Many people use various anti-inflammatory foods - but in addition to a good diet rather than making them the be-all and end-all. Celtic says she could always tell when she'd missed her usual fix of oily fish, turmeric and garlic!

  • This doesn't surprise me at all, as all of the anti-inflammatory diets that I have looked at include oily fish, turmeric and garlic

  • And then there are the articles today about the microplastic that is now to be found in seafood - that may then settle in the joints and cause inflammation. You can't win...

  • It is frustrating to say the least... for every good piece of advice for most things in life, especially diet and medical, there is almost certainly going to be conflicting advice to challenge it.

  • Hi Liz, another consideration is whether you are on a PPI (eg; Omeprozole) to protect your stomach from the ravages of Prednisolone. Although this is effective in what it does, it has one nasty side effect in that in can inhibit the uptake of nutrients from your food. I'm currently concerned about Magnesium which you can be short of if on PPIs, deficiency in this can cause muscle discomfort, bladder irritability and consequent loss of sleep.

    There are no doubt other downsides of PPIs which others may know more about.

  • Calcium is the bigger problem with PPIs - they can cause osteoporosis all on their own longterm!

    PPIs have some nasty side-effects, mainly gastric, and can lead to really bad bloating and diarrhoea, something quite a few people have been told by their doctors is nothing to do with omeprazole. You only have to read the datasheet...

    They are not supposed to be used longterm - but they are.

  • Depending where you live you may find that locally produced foods are as good as certified organic. Many local farmers use quite "clean" methods of raising crops and animals because it's cheaper than the chemical inputs required by industrial farming, but getting an organic certification can be difficult and more costly than they can afford. One of the main reasons organically produced foods are better is because we are now finding the claims of proponents is true - organic foods ARE more nutritious. Over time industrial farming robs soil of micronutrients, which means those elements are not present to be absorbed by the plants (or animals that feed on them) and passed on to us.

  • I definitely agree with you that this is a really good option and it does give the small farmer or smallholder the opportunity to sell the produce at a realistic price directly to the consumer.

  • That just about describes my current regime. I am a pescetarian, eating mainly fish, fruit and veg, though I sometimes include cheese and eggs. And it has helped me to lose weight.

  • Has your diet helped relieve your symptoms as well as losing weight?

  • I think the secret is what Michael Pollan says - eat food, not too much, mostly plants.

  • I'm vegetarian and currently trying to include as much turmeric in my diet as possible. It's hard to know whether it is working or whether there are other factors, but I have managed to reduce from 10mg to 7.5mg of pred since taking the turmeric without incurring much pain and I am returning to something like my old exercise and sports regime. I don't want to speak too soon though and I know that trials, whilst promising, are still ongoing.

  • That is really interesting to know and, yet again, turmeric seems to be playing a vital role in anti-immflammatory diets. I will keep my fingers crossed for you that you continue to reduce the Prednisolone intake without too many problems.

  • The only downside, is that it stains everything a beautiful shade of yellow!

  • I discussed with my Very open minded GP the pros and cons of taking turmeric and she said give it a go but also added that it is one of the 'in' alternatives...any ideas about how much, how often?

  • No, apart from using it to flavour dishes, I am not entirely sure about how else you could take it as I have only just discovered its health benefits. Need to do some research.

  • To get full anti-inflammatory effect make sure you also consume a little piperine at the same time (aka black pepper). Apparently turmeric is not very bioavailable, but piperine increases the bioavailability exponentially!

    ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/961...

  • Celtic adds it to any form of cooking that is suitable - casseroles, stews, sauces and so on. You can also make like "hot chocolate" or a "tea" with it. Just google turmeric tea for that.

    This

    today.com/food/how-cook-tur...

    adds it to pancakes amongst other things...

  • Thank you, great ideas that I am definitely going to try

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