Rheumatoid arthritis is associated with an increased risk of hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and cardiovascular diseases. The causes are unknown, but the disturbed balance of blood fats may be part of the explanation.
Johan Frostegård, professor, Karolinska Institute, found that a gluten-free vegan diet reduces cardiovascular risk in people with rheumatoid arthritis. Participants in the year long study (sample size unknown) were assigned to one of two groups. One group ate a gluten-free vegan diet and the other group followed ordinary dietary advice.
The gluten-free vegan group, when compared to the control group, had reduced rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. Their blood levels of LDL and oxidised LDL-cholesterol (a risk factor for atherosclerosis) were lower in the gluten-free vegan group. The beneficial atheroprotective natural antibodies–against phosphorylcholine– was raised in rheumatoid arthritis patients.