The title of this blog entry is an obvious question for anyone seeking natural solutions to health challenges. In natural medicine, we often take it is a base assumption that changing diet will have impact on health outcomes. The way in which specific dietary changes will affect body systems, however, is not always clear particularly when there is pathology such as in autoimmune and chronic inflammatory conditions.
One study done in Germany about 10 years looked at Mediterranean diet or extended fasting in patients with FM or RA and found no changes in intestinal microflora or secretory immunoglobulin A (a endogenous inflammatory compound). This may not tell us all that we need to know about these pathologies and their relation to diet, but it gives us some food for thought. Would anyone else like to see a followup study with natural anti-inflammatories or even probiotic supplementation?
One interesting Korean study found that EPA & DHA Omega-3s (fish oil) supplementation in Rheumatoid Arthritis sufferers helped them to lower their dosage of NSAIDS (Non-steroidal anti-inlammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen, etc.). While this is far from a dietary ‘cure’ for RA, it could be of immense benefit because of the myriad health benefits of Omega-3, as well as the decreased load on the liver when NSAID dosage required is lowered.
Another study in the International journal Rheumatology found that a vegetarian diet along with fish oil supplementation could greatly reduce symptoms for RA sufferers. “A diet low in arachidonic acid ameliorates clinical signs of inflammation in patients with RA and augments the beneficial effect of fish oil supplementation” found the researchers.