In a nutshell
This study investigated the effect of dietary fiber supplementation (DFS) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). They found that DFS may improve RA symptoms.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a condition caused by chronic inflammation. The immune system is overactive in RA. This causes pain and disability over time. Most patients will require several drugs to keep RA symptoms at bay. Lifestyle factors may also be important in managing RA. Diet is known to affect the immune system. In recent years the intake of dietary fiber as been reduced. Fiber is important for gut health. It is broken down into chemicals called short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) in the gut.
Diets high in fiber have been shown to improve RA symptoms. These diets included fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. Large amounts of SCFAs are made during the digestion of these foods. SCFAs have anti-inflammatory properties in mice with inflammatory arthritis. It is unclear if dietary fiber supplementation (DFS) can improve RA symptoms in patients.
Methods & findings
This study included 36 patients with RA. All patients were assigned to consume high-fiber cereal bars for 28 days. RA symptoms were assessed at the beginning and end of the study. Blood samples were taken to measure the number of immune cells. This included regulatory T cells (Tregs). Tregs balance the immune system and prevent over-activation. Inflammation is measured by comparing the number of Th1 and Th17 cells (Th1/Th2). Collagen fragments (CTX-1) were measured to assess bone destruction in the joints.
The number of Tregs increased at the end of the study. The Th1/Th12 ratio was significantly higher at the end of the study. This indicates a reduction in inflammation. Disease activity scores (DA) were not significantly reduced. However, most patients had low DA at the beginning of the study. CTX-1 levels were significantly reduced after 28 days.
The bottom line
The authors concluded that dietary fiber supplementation may improve RA symptoms.
The fine print
This study was conducted in a small number of patients with low DA. It is unclear if DFS can improve symptoms in patients with high DA. More studies in larger patient groups are needed.
If you have any concerns regarding RA please consult with your physician.
Published By :
Oct 07, 2019
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