Impact of dietary interventions inconsistent in rheumatoid arthritis

For patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the impact of dietary interventions is inconsistent, although some research indicates benefit for omega-3 supplementation, according to a review published online Oct. 4 in Nutrients.

Tala Raad, from the University of Limerick in Ireland, and colleagues conducted a systematic review to explore the effect of dietary interventions, with or without omega-3 supplementation, for management of RA. Data were included for 20 studies with 1,063 participants.

The researchers found that pain, duration of morning stiffness, joint tenderness, grip strength, and inflammatory markers were the most frequently reported outcomes. Across the included studies, the results were inconsistent, and they did not provide a clear indication to support a specific dietary management strategy. Diets including Mediterranean, anti-inflammatory, vegan/vegetarian, elemental, and allergenic-free had varying effects on RA outcome measures and did not always lead to improvements. In an RA population, dietary interventions in combination with omega-3 supplementation provided additional benefits over dietary intervention alone; however, these results were from only one study.

“Despite the numerous studies that have been conducted in this area, there remains much heterogeneity and bias across both interventions and results of the clinical trials,” the authors write. “The way forward remains the performance of trials under rigorously controlled conditions with reasoned extrapolation of data when it comes to interpreting the results.”