Diet May Affect Lupus
GIFU, Japan (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Diet -- and especially, vitamin C -- may play a role in minimizing the effects of lupus.
Japanese researchers publishing in the Journal of Rheumatology report women who had higher intakes of vitamin C were less likely to develop a more serious form of the disease. The U.S. RDA of vitamin C is 60 milligrams per day.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease characterized by fatigue and joint pain. In severe cases, it can cause multiple organ problems, including heart, lung and kidney disease. Animal studies have suggested diet may impact the prognosis of the condition. Mice who were fed a low-fat diet and fish oil, for example, had improved survival and delayed onset of kidney problems. Clinical studies in humans have also shown fish oil supplementation has beneficial effects. Little research exists, however, on other nutrients.
Researchers collected dietary and clinical information from female patients with lupus. Using data on around 200 patients with inactive lupus and no signs of vascular problems at the beginning of the study, they analyzed the results to see how diet impacted the transition to active disease and the development of vascular problems over the four-year follow up.
At the end of the study, 43 patients had developed active disease and seven developed vascular problems. The investigators found women with increased intake of vitamin C were significantly less likely to transition to active disease. Those who ate more crude fiber were similarly protected. The finding on vitamin C remained significant even after results were adjusted to take other factors that could have impacted disease transition into account. Women who developed vascular problems were more likely to consume higher amounts of vegetable fat at the beginning of the study than those who did not suffer these events.
The investigators believe their study is the first to observe a significant association between vitamin C intake and the risk of active disease in people with lupus.
SOURCE: The Journal of Rheumatology, 2003;30:747-754
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