A new study by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine found that a low-fat vegan diet, without calorie restrictions, significantly improves joint pain in patients with rheumatoid arthritis
an autoimmune condition that causes joint pain, swelling, and permanent joint damage. Diet participants also lost weight and had lower cholesterol.
A plant-based diet could ease joint pain for millions of people with rheumatoid arthritis, says study author Neal Barnard. All side effects are beneficial, including weight loss and lower cholesterol.
Dr. Barnard and his team asked participants to rate their joint pain in the two weeks before the study, from "no pain" to "pain as bad as it could be."
Scientists calculated participants' Disease Activity Score-28 (DAS28) based on tender joints, swollen joints, and C-reactive protein levels to measure inflammation in the body.
44 rheumatoid arthritis patients were divided into two groups for 16 weeks. One group followed a vegan diet for a month, then gradually reintroduced foods over nine weeks
The other group ate normally but took a daily placebo capsule. After 16 weeks, they switched diets.