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Health News Archive 50 - Rheumatoid Arthritis
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Increased Vitamin D Intake Associated with Reduced Rheumatoid Arthritis

Vitamin D from both diet and supplements is inversely associated with the risk of rheumatoid arthritis according to data obtained from the Iowa Women's Health Study. The Iowa Women's Health Study is a population-based study begun in 1986 which included 41,836 women between the ages of 55 and 69. The current study analyzed 29,368 participants who did not have rheumatoid arthritis at the study's onset.

Food frequency questionnaires administered in 1986 were analyzed to determine vitamin D and calcium intake. Over the eleven year follow-up period, 152 cases of rheumatoid arthritis were identified. Total vitamin D intake, vitamin D from diet and vitamin D from supplements were all negatively associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Supplemental vitamin D was more strongly associated with an adverse relationship to rheumatoid arthritis risk than vitamin D from diet. Total calcium intake from all sources was not found to be associated with rheumatoid arthritis risk.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease whose cause is unknown, although genetic and nongenetic factors have been identified to play a role in susceptibility to the disease. The authors of the study acknowledge that vitamin D has an immunologic activity apart from its role in calcium regulation, and has been shown to have an immunosuppressant effect in laboratory studies, possibly explaining its mechanism of action in rheumatoid arthritis. The findings in this study may have relevance to other immunologic disorders, creating the need for further research.

Source: Journal of Arthritis & Rheumatism; January 2004.

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Effects of Oral Administration of Type II Collagen containing Hyaluronic Acid on Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory synovial disease thought to involve T cells reacting to an antigen within the joint. Type II collagen is the major protein in articular cartilage and is a potential autoantigen in this disease. Oral tolerization to autoantigens suppresses animal models of T cell-mediated autoimmune disease, including two models of rheumatoid arthritis.

In this randomized, double-blind trial involving 60 patients with severe, active rheumatoid arthritis, a decrease in the number of swollen joints and tender joints occurred in subjects fed chicken type II collagen, the source of Hyaluronic Acid, for 3 months but not in those that received a placebo. Four patients in the collagen group had complete remission of the disease. No side effects were evident. These data demonstrate clinical efficacy of an oral tolerization approach for rheumatoid arthritis.

Source: Trentham DE, Dynesius-Trentham RA, Orav EJ, Combitchi D, Lorenzo C, Sewell KL, Hafler DA, Weiner HL Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Hospital, Boston, MA. as reported by The Arthritis Foundation (www.arthritis.org).  Science 1993 Sep 24;261(5129):1727-30

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