Two studies presented today at the European League Against Rheumatism Annual Congress (EULAR 2014) have found a relationship between the dietary intake of monounsaturated fatty acids and cholesterol with disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA) respectively.
In the TOMORROW study, daily intake of monounsaturated fatty acids as a component of the Mediterranean diet has been shown to be an independent predictor of remission in patients with RA; monounsaturated fatty acids might therefore be suppressing disease activity.
In another study, using an experimental animal model of osteoarthritis, accumulation of LDL-cholesterol resulted in an increase in synovial thickening and ectopic bone formation, with excessive cholesterol levels shifting the balance towards increased cartilage damage.
Researchers have been exploring the link between diet and different types of arthritis since the 1930's.3 While the relationship between diet and arthritis is certainly complex, these two studies have highlighted the importance of addressing dietary intake of monounsaturated fatty acids and cholesterol when treating patients with RA and OA respectively.
Dietary intake of monounsaturated fatty acids independently predicts remission in RA
Using the RA disease activity score calculator DAS28-ESR to categorise patients as having active disease or being in remission, dietary intake of monounsaturated fatty acids was shown to be an independent predictor of remission in patients with RA (Odds: 0.51; 95% CI = 0.25