Article By: JESSICA KNIBBS - READ ORIGINAL ARTICLE
ARTHRITIS is a chronic condition which is known to develop for some in their older years. But what you eat now could be causing you to unwittingly be increasing your risk of early development of the condition.
Arthritis comes in many forms however the most common in the UK is osteoarthritis, which affects nearly nine million people. Osteoarthritis initially affects the smooth cartilage lining of the joint. This makes movement more difficult than usual, leading to pain and stiffness. One particular food type could be causing you to develop the condition far earlier though. What to avoid?
One study published in Nature looked at the association between red meat and rheumatoid arthritis.
From June to December 2016, a total of 733 patients were investigated, from which 707 participants were included in the analysis.
The patients were divided into two groups according to their consumption of red meat (less than 100 g/day; more than 100 g/day).
The intake of red meat was assessed via a doctor-administered questionnaire.
Risk factors for increasing a person’s risk for the condition also included other factors such as demographic, clinical, laboratory, and other dietary factors, were taken into account.
Compared with a low-intake of red meat, rheumatoid arthritis patients who had a high-intake of red meat had an earlier onset age and had higher body mass index (BMI).
“Compared with those in the low-intake of red meat group, the arthritis participants in the high-intake group were significantly younger, had earlier disease onset age, and were less likely to be female,” concluded the study.
The age at disease onset for the high-intake patients was 6.46 years earlier than for low-intake patients, after adjustment for demographic and other possible confounders.
The researchers found the association of red meat intake with rheumatoid arthritis was especially evident in smokers and overweight patients.
The findings indicate that eating less red meat could be a recommendation given to patients at risk for arthritis development.
"It may be that the high collagen content of meat leads to collagen sensitisation and consequent production of anti-collagen antibodies, most likely in a subgroup of susceptible individuals," the authors noted.
"Meat consumption may be linked to either additives or even infectious agents, but, again, there is no evidence as to what might be important in relation to arthritis."
"A high level of red meat consumption may represent a novel risk factor for inflammatory arthritis or may act as a marker for a group of persons with an increased risk from other lifestyle causes," said Professors Alan Silman from the University of Manchester.
"It is unclear whether the association is a causative one."
Adding to the theory regarding high meat consumption and early arthritis, some research links red and processed meat to inflammation, which may increase arthritis symptoms.
Diets high in processed and red meats have shown high levels of inflammatory markers such as interleukin-6 (IL-6), C-reactive protein (CRP), and homocysteine.
One study of 217 people with rheumatoid arthritis also found that red meat commonly worsened symptoms.
Additionally, another analysis among 25,630 people determined that high red meat intake may be a risk factor for inflammatory arthritis.
Early symptoms of arthritis include:
Decreased range of motion.