Monday, August 26, 2013

Food Intolerance and Rheumatoid Arthritis

If you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis you may be interested to know that there is a connection between this and food intolerances, in particular, allergy to wheat or dairy foodstuffs.

In a report from the UK Medical Research Council in 2001, it was stated that there is evidence from both case reports and controlled studies that an individualised diet, where offending foods are identified and removed, can cause an improvement in rheumatoid arthritis.

What we are talking about here is an elimination diet: removing virtually all the foods which might be causing symptoms, to determine whether symptoms improve, and then re-introducing food one at a time to identify which are causing the symptoms.

An example of this is described by consultant rheumatologist Dr Gail Darlington in a study published in 1986. She undertook a controlled study of 6 weeks of dietary manipulation therapy in 53 rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients. During the first week the patients were only allowed to eat foods they were unlikely to be intolerant to. Other food items were then introduced one at a time to see whether any symptoms were elicited by the dietary challenge. Foods producing symptoms were then excluded from the diet. There were significant improvements in the exclusion diet group in comparison to the placebo diet group.

Darlington went on to complete further clinical trials and in 1993 published a table of foods most likely to cause intolerance in patients with RA. The top five were corn, wheat, bacon/pork, oranges and milk.

None of this would have been surprising to Charles de Coti-Marsh, who undertook pioneering research into the causes and treatment of arthritis in the 1940s and 1950s. His findings convinced him that 'disease begins in the bowel', in other words, what we eat plays a major part in the development of many chronic conditions, including arthritis.

De Coti-Marsh treated patients by using what he called the 'Sanocell System.'' Judging the amount of toxic compounds (or food antigen) he believed to be present within that food, based on observation and case histories, he gave each food a value of 1-200, 200 being the most toxic to the body. His patients were given a Home Treatment Programme to follow, and at each stage of progress they were allowed to include in the diet all the foods below a certain number. Foods categorised by a higher number were not allowed. This was the elimination phase. As patients progressed, the Sanocell System allowed for the re-introduction of certain foods. It was an individualised diet, supervised by de Coti-Marsh himself.

Since the death of Charles de Coti-Marsh his Home Treatment for arthritis continues to be promoted by The Arthritic Association.

As scientific knowledge has progressed, so The Arthritic Association has presented its Home Treatment Programme for Arthritis in the context of scientific literature; investigated and ratified by the medical profession. As such, the charity's health programme has now been acknowledged to be a largely self-administered intervention based on the three areas of diet, supplementation and physical therapy.

If you would like to know how the Home Treatment programme can help you, please visit our website or call our Freephone number 0800 652 3188.

Elizabeth Hartland,
Nutritional Therapist,
The Arthritic Association

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