How a Lack of Nutrition Impacts Rheumatoid Arthritis
While many people may associate inadequate nutrition with third-world countries, it can and does occur in developed countries such as ours. Certain conditions can make eating, along with the absorption of nutrients, difficult. Rheumatoid arthritis is one of those conditions, and people with this disease need to pay particular attention to their diets to avoid becoming malnourished.
One problem is that rheumatoid arthritis sufferers who experience chronic inflammation produce cytokines, a cell protein that speeds up metabolism. A higher metabolism translates into more calories burned, which means more nutrients are required to keep the body functioning. This fact, coupled with the difficulty some rheumatoid arthritis sufferers have buying and preparing food due to joint pain and stiffness, means that many rheumatoid arthritis patients may be shortchanging themselves when it comes to proper nourishment. Also, some rheumatoid arthritis sufferers feel that certain foods or food groups, such as dairy and meat, aggravate their symptoms.
Although these foods may be considered healthful and nutritious for the general population, rheumatoid arthritis patients may feel compelled to cut them out of their diets completely, leading to nutritional imbalances.
Ironically, the very medications that some rheumatoid arthritis sufferers take to alleviate their condition also can cause nutritional inadequacies. Methotrexate, a commonly prescribed rheumatoid arthritis drug, often causes folic acid deficiency. Other arthritis medications may cause gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining) or peptic ulcer, both of which may reduce a patient's desire to eat.
If eating a better diet isn't possible for rheumatoid arthritis patients, it's fine to bump up nutritional stores with supplements. A multivitamin is a good first step, as rheumatoid arthritis sufferers commonly lack a variety of nutrients including vitamins C, D, B6, B12, and E; calcium; folic acid; magnesium; zinc; and selenium.
Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center
Sign Up for Free Newsletters
Ask Your Doctor the RIGHT Questions!
the most from your doctor visit.
Emailed right to you!
The Ask Your Doctor email series
may contain sponsored content.
18+, US residents only please.
Explore Original Articles About...
Get the MOST from QualityHealth
- Top Searches
- 1. Arthritis Management: Nature Heals
- 2. 5 Digestive To-Dos
- 3. Men: Should You Shave It or Leave It?
- 4. Today's Top Fitness Trends
- 5. Sugar and Osteoarthritis : The Link
- 6. Can't Afford Your Hospital Bills?
- 7. Stay Energized All Day Long
- 8. Phobias: Who Has Them and Why?
- 9. What If Your EpiPen Fails?
- 10. 5 Costly Medical Billing Mistakes
- 1. Ice Falls Can Cause Serious Injuries
- 2. Can Inactivity Act Like a Disease?
- 3. Kale Snack Recipe for Diabetics
- 4. How Running Affects Arthritis
- 5. Sugar and Your Immunity System
- 6. Do Weight Loss Supplements Work?
- 7. 5 Super Foods for Spring
- 8. The Hazards of Reusable Bags
- 9. How to Avoid Ingrown Hairs
- 10. Health Tip: Constantly Change Shoes
- 1. 4 Common Treatments for Epilepsy
- 2. What Does a Urogynecologist Do?
- 3. GERD Without Heartburn? It's Possible
- 4. Graston Technique: Can It Work on You?
- 5. Music Therapy Can Help Autism
- 6. 8 Ways to Fight MS-Related Fatigue
- 7. Can You Still Bleed After Menopause?
- 8. Be Your Own Health Care Advocate
- 9. Why Is Syphillis on the Rise?
- 10. Ideal Weight vs. Happy Weight
The material on the QualityHealth Web site is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment provided by a physician or other qualified health provider. See additional information.