Fasting and Diet for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Germany - Essen Department of Integrative Medicine, Kliniken Essen-Mitte clinic: a large study targeted for Rheumatoid Arthritis patients showed significant benefits from a 7-day fasting program among patients with various chronic pain conditions including RA, Osteoarthritis, Fibromyalgia, and Migraine headaches. Patients visit the medical center for 10~14 days and undergo a program consisting of lifestyle changes and mind-body medicine. Between 2001 and 2004, there were 2,787 patients who attended the clinic for 3 days or more. Of the 2,121 patients with complete discharge questionnaires, 952 fasted, 873 followed a normo-caloric Mediterranean diet, and 296 followed other nutritional programs such as elimination diets or rice diets and were not included in the study. Patients who elected to fast had 2 pre-fasting days when they consumed 800 calories from fruit, rice, or potatoes. During the 7 days of actual fasting, they were instructed to drink mineral water, herbal tea, vegetable broth, and juice, for a total caloric intake of 350 kcal. In the 4 days following the fast, foods were slowly reintroduced. Enemas or laxatives were administered during the fast. At the time of discharge from the clinic, disease-related complaints had improved to a significantly greater degree among fasting patients, with 344 (37%) reporting that their symptoms were "much better," compared with 209 (24%) of the non-fasting patients reporting that level of improvement. Overall, 743 (78%) of fasting patients reported improvements in their health status, while 176 (18%) reported no change and 33 (3%) reported worsening of their health (J. Altern. Complement. Med. 2005;11:601~7). Lead investigator Andreas Michalsen, M.D., spoke in the conference of the study, the conference on alternative and complementary medicine sponsored by the universities of Exeter and Plymouth which took place in Exeter, England. "Patients who fasted also seemed to have better success in maintaining beneficial long-term lifestyle changes such as exercise and relaxation," Dr. Michalsen added. A review of literature shows there is 31 other studies supporting benefits of fasting in arthritis, specifically Rheumatoid arthritis. Tomatoes, potatoes and mushrooms are certainly part of a food group that I recommend to my R.A. patients to stay away from.

Case Study Date: 12/12/2005