The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Benefits of a vegan diet for rheumatoid arthritis

    Dietary manipulation helps people regain a sense of control over their disease.

    In addition, researchers from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden report changes that might be beneficial.

    First, the details.

    • 66 adults with active rheumatoid arthritis (RA) were randomly assigned to a vegan diet free of gluten or a well-balanced non-vegan diet for 1 year.
    • 30 out of 38 patients in the vegan group completed more than 3 months on the diet regimen.
    • Data and blood samples were obtained at the start of the study, and after 3 and 12 months.

    And, the results with gluten-free vegan diet.

    • Significantly induced lower body mass index (BMI) and LDL (bad) cholesterol.
    • Significantly higher anti-PC IgM levels.
    • BMI, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and total cholesterol significantly decreased after 3 and 12 months.
    • Low-density lipoprotein (oxLDL) decreased after 3 months.
      • oxLDL is an atherogenic agent (capable of producing atheromatous plaques in arteries).
    • Triglycerides and HDL (good) cholesterol did not change.
    • IgA anti-PC levels increased significantly after 3 months.

    In the control diet group

    • IgM anti-PC levels significantly decreased after 3 and 12 months.

    When separating vegan patients into clinical responders and non-responders at 12 months, the effects on oxLDL and anti-PC IgA were seen only in responders.

    The bottom line?
    The authors concluded, “A gluten-free vegan diet in RA induces changes that are potentially atheroprotective and anti-inflammatory, including decreased LDL and oxLDL levels and raised anti-PC IgM and IgA levels.”

    An earlier study of a very low-fat, vegan diet in people with RA reported that patients with moderate-to-severe RA who switch to a very low-fat, vegan diet can experience significant reductions in RA symptoms.

    Others who have looked for associations between diet (lacto-vegetarian, vegan, or Mediterranean diets) and RA concluded that the benefits are not simply related to weight reduction.

    3/20/08 22:16 JR

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