If you are a Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patient, then going on gluten- free vegan diet might not be such a bad idea, for new research has found that doing so could protect you from heart attacks and stroke.
Gluten-free vegan diet has been shown to lower cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and oxidizedLDL (OxLDL), as well as raise levels of natural antibodies which help fight compounds such as phosphorylcholine that cause symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
The finding was made by Johan Frostegard of the Rheumatology Unit at the Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm and colleagues.
The researchers divided 66 RA patients randomly into two groups of 38 and 28 people each.
The group with 38 volunteers ate a gluten-free vegan diet, and the other with 28 volunteers ate a well-balanced but non-vegan diet for one year.
Volunteers' blood samples were analysed for levels of fatty, lipid molecules at regular periods.
The researchers also measured oxLDL and anti-phosphorylcholine (antiPC) factor at the beginning of the experiment, at 3 months and again at 12 months.
They found that the gluten-free vegan diet not only reduced LDL and oxLDL levels and raised antiPC antibodies but lowered the body-mass index (BMI) of the volunteers in that group.
The findings are reported today in the open access journal Arthritis Research & Therapy.