Is there any evidence that diet affects arthritis?
The subject of diet has attracted many claims of cures for patients with arthritis. This interest stems from various known facts. Historically, autoimmune disease is a relatively recent phenomenon and may correlate with our changing diet. In the late paleolithic period, the human diet was rich in protein as opposed to our current diet, which is rich in fat. This increase in dietary fat can affect the composition of cellular membrane fatty acids (FAs). These membrane FAs are the source of arachidonic acid-derived prostaglandins (PGs) and leukotrienes (LTs), which contribute to inflammation. It has been noted that some patients with inflammatory arthritis may be deficient in zinc, selenium, and vitamins A and C, which are involved in the scavenging or inactivation of oxygen free radicals. Though no convincing scientific evidence indicates that diet causes or cures arthritis, there are observations that diet may modulate the immune system. A current dietary trend is the Paleo diet, lending support to the notion that our changed dietary habits could be contributing to the development of autoimmunity. Additionally, innovative research has noted the importance of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract along with our intestinal and mucosal microbiome in autoimmunity.