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Paleo diet to treat psoratic arthritis?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created October 25, 2012 at 3:22 AM

I'm new to this website, but have been reading through some of the threads and am noticing that a few people have experienced relief from autoimmune conditions after switching to a paleo diet. I'm 28 and have had psoratic arthritis since my late teens. 60% of the time it doesn't cause me any issues, but when it does flare up it's agonising and really affects my life. I've been under the care of a rheumatologist and have tried several different medications, with a fairly large range of side effects.

I have to 'fess up and state for the record that I'm not good at sticking to my medication regime. The medication I'm currently on is nowhere near as bad as some others I've tried, but when I take it I feel like I'm only functioning at about 85%. I get frequent stomach problems, and overall feel much less energetic, a bit slower, and not as happy as I think I should feel. I can't help but worry about what this fairly toxic medication might do to my body long-term too. Ultimately I want to manage my condition without medication. I was under the care of a dietician for a while who recommended a very restricted diet which was almost vegan (although the list of "off-limits" veggies was pretty long too) and everything had to be raw. I really tried to stick to the diet but it wasn't easy and I really didn't enjoy it.

I've recently made some changes to my diet, and have started exercising more regularly and this has made me feel much better overall. I don't think my diet has ever been that bad (I've never eaten a lot of heavily processed or pre-prepared foods, always eaten a wide range of foods and plenty of fresh meats and veg), but now I've mostly cut out carbs, I'm eating more fish and meat, and more veggies, with very little sugar. I'm not eating a lot of fat and I tend to stick to low-fat dairy and oils, and lean cuts of meat.

I'd really like to hear from people who have a similar condition to mine. Did your change to a paleo diet help with your condition? Are there specific changes you'd suggest? Is the inclusion of fats in your diet particularly important in helping with inflammation and joint pain? My understanding is that a 'true' paleo diet excludes dairy, but does dairy have a place in a diet to treat autoimmune conditions? Sorry for the super long post, but I'd really appreciate any guidance or personal experiences anyone can share!

A5127d60bca783084f191f38ffa357a6

(687)

on December 21, 2012
at 09:12 PM

"This was a bad move. I resumed the injections but they were no longer effective. My Rheumy then prescribed me Humira." This doesn't make since can you clarify? She perscribed you Humira, but you were already perscribed. Also what kind of pain did you have, was it more muscle related or in your joints?

629b9895e282d0ef15b465b064100f83

on November 09, 2012
at 08:12 AM

Unfortunately, that is far too common- the vast majority of physicians that I've dealt with do not believe diet has a major impact on Crohn's or other autoimmune disease. It is ridiculous. My rheumatologist, however, is the first doctor that I've spoke to that supports my Paleo lifestyle and does believe that it is helping me. Take care!

D535751befad3d9d308ceb0b3ad72f70

(10)

on October 29, 2012
at 05:16 AM

Hey Katy! Thanks for the message! You're right about being young and feeling old... although the pain of the arthritis is obviously a major issue, there's also different pain associated with hearing "but isn't that something only old people get?" when you tell people you have arthritis... I'm very lucky to not have any GI issues (except those caused by the medication), but was amazed when I read on your blog that your Dr didn't think diet would help your GI symptoms - western medicine seems so silly sometimes. I'm glad you're feeling better though and hope you continue to improve!

D535751befad3d9d308ceb0b3ad72f70

(10)

on October 25, 2012
at 07:02 AM

Thanks for sharing your story Bryan! I'm happy to hear you're feeling better now! I'll have a look into the Whole30 program - this might be a good way for me to kick-start a new diet and if I also eliminate the foods others have suggested (dairy, nightshade veg) at the same time, I can then gradually add them back in and see if any are triggers for my arthritis. If I can get to the point you're at - reducing flare-ups and only occasionally resorting to medication to relieve symptoms - I'll be very happy (and I'll be proving my rheumatologist wrong!)

D535751befad3d9d308ceb0b3ad72f70

(10)

on October 25, 2012
at 06:50 AM

Also, I'm in Australia and Doctors here treat illness with isolated medications, rather than taking a whole-body approach. So I've been prescribed a medication for my condition, but I need to see a personal trainer or physiotherapist for exercises to strengthen joints and maintain movement during flare-ups, and for dietary advice I've got to hit the internet. I agree that diet has a huge impact on disease and that a complimentary approach with meds is needed. I'd like to be able to prevent flare-ups as much as possible with diet changes, and use meds to treat symptomatically only if needed.

D535751befad3d9d308ceb0b3ad72f70

(10)

on October 25, 2012
at 06:43 AM

Hi Dan, thanks for the advice - I might eliminate dairy and see whether that changes anything. I may not have been properly clear when I said I feel 85% - I mean that when I'm not having a flare-up of arthritis, the medication makes me feel like I'm only operating at about 85% of normal. I feel kind of out of it, and like I don't have as much energy as I should - and this feeling goes away when I go off the meds, I feel normal again. I feel like I should give my body a chance to deal with this condition by itself, and treat it symptomatically if there's still a need for that.

D535751befad3d9d308ceb0b3ad72f70

(10)

on October 25, 2012
at 06:39 AM

Hi Shelley, thanks for sharing your experience. I'll check out the website you recommended, thanks!

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4 Answers

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0
5a21b66ef8ee09eeb0a5cfaefcac7b4a

on October 25, 2012
at 03:39 AM

i don't have your problem but I did have some arthritis in my knee until I went grain Free..no wheat, no rice no spelt..etc, this has helped so much it is hard to believe..limit night veggies..pepper, tomatoes..give that a google for a complete list..add coconut oil and other good nut fat..dairy might be fine..it depends of you and what you can tolerate..I have used the Wheat Belly website alot..they are very very helpful..Dr Davis will answer most questions fairly quickly..give that a try..it won't hurt and I think it will help..alot

D535751befad3d9d308ceb0b3ad72f70

(10)

on October 25, 2012
at 06:39 AM

Hi Shelley, thanks for sharing your experience. I'll check out the website you recommended, thanks!

best answer

0
194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on October 25, 2012
at 03:51 AM

I have RA, and dairy is a big no-no for me. I'd avoid it if I were you.

I'm of the thinking that diet has a profound effect on disease, but isn't a 100% treatment. If you feel like the meds take you 85% the way, however, I'd guess that going Paleo would at least cover the last 15%.

For me, the meds do about 35% of the work, diet another 35%. I'm still not feeling at my best.

D535751befad3d9d308ceb0b3ad72f70

(10)

on October 25, 2012
at 06:43 AM

Hi Dan, thanks for the advice - I might eliminate dairy and see whether that changes anything. I may not have been properly clear when I said I feel 85% - I mean that when I'm not having a flare-up of arthritis, the medication makes me feel like I'm only operating at about 85% of normal. I feel kind of out of it, and like I don't have as much energy as I should - and this feeling goes away when I go off the meds, I feel normal again. I feel like I should give my body a chance to deal with this condition by itself, and treat it symptomatically if there's still a need for that.

D535751befad3d9d308ceb0b3ad72f70

(10)

on October 25, 2012
at 06:50 AM

Also, I'm in Australia and Doctors here treat illness with isolated medications, rather than taking a whole-body approach. So I've been prescribed a medication for my condition, but I need to see a personal trainer or physiotherapist for exercises to strengthen joints and maintain movement during flare-ups, and for dietary advice I've got to hit the internet. I agree that diet has a huge impact on disease and that a complimentary approach with meds is needed. I'd like to be able to prevent flare-ups as much as possible with diet changes, and use meds to treat symptomatically only if needed.

1
2f14bf1625aba1af749882ac892d3477

on October 25, 2012
at 05:21 AM

Hi Sarah,

It's good to hear you are interested in pursuing a non-pharmacological treatment for your psoriatic condition.

I was diagnosed with PA in 2001 when my knee suddenly swelled and required a 60cc draining. For the next 2 years I found myself getting the knee drained and pumped full of corticosteroids. The inflammation in my knee was constant with swelling, pain, and was very warm to the touch.

My Rheumy was able to pursuade the insurance company to cover the cost for Humira (none of the NSAIDS helped at all) and this effectively eliminated the symptoms. Then about 5 years ago, for some reason, I decided to discontinue the injections and see what would happen. This was a bad move. I resumed the injections but they were no longer effective. My Rheumy then prescribed me Humira, which got the inflammation under control. I continued with these bi-weekly injections, aware of the potential dangers and side effects.

It was Fall of 2009 when I discovered Paleo and drastically altered my dietary practices. I followed the PaNu (Archevore) protocol and felt immediate benefits. With that, I decided to discontinue the injections again. 3+ years later and not a single flair up...to the magnitude of the pre-Humira days. I can feel very minor flairs come on from time to time that effect some other joints but not the knee. For those infrequent bouts, I may take a dose. So, I probably inject once every 2 months, not the prescribed biweeklys (the specialty pharmacy is constantly calling me to authorize refills, at which I repeatedly request a call back in 4 weeks).

I would say, right now, I'm 90% better off than my pretreatment / pre-Paleo condition. And as a result I don't feel inclined to pursue any further dietary modifications to pursue that last 10%. However, if I could do it over again, I would try the Whole 30 program (check out the website)

Going "Paleo" has certainly helped me, and I could probably discontinue the medication entirely. But the Whole 30 elimination diet would probably help identify any remaining offenders while allowing the gut to heal properly too.

Eliminate-heal-reintroduce-observe

Best of luck,

B

D535751befad3d9d308ceb0b3ad72f70

(10)

on October 25, 2012
at 07:02 AM

Thanks for sharing your story Bryan! I'm happy to hear you're feeling better now! I'll have a look into the Whole30 program - this might be a good way for me to kick-start a new diet and if I also eliminate the foods others have suggested (dairy, nightshade veg) at the same time, I can then gradually add them back in and see if any are triggers for my arthritis. If I can get to the point you're at - reducing flare-ups and only occasionally resorting to medication to relieve symptoms - I'll be very happy (and I'll be proving my rheumatologist wrong!)

A5127d60bca783084f191f38ffa357a6

(687)

on December 21, 2012
at 09:12 PM

"This was a bad move. I resumed the injections but they were no longer effective. My Rheumy then prescribed me Humira." This doesn't make since can you clarify? She perscribed you Humira, but you were already perscribed. Also what kind of pain did you have, was it more muscle related or in your joints?

0
629b9895e282d0ef15b465b064100f83

on October 26, 2012
at 04:21 PM

Hello! I have autoimmune disease- inflammatory bowel disease and I was also recently diagnosed with inflammatory arthritis, although they are still trying to narrow down the specific type. I'm also 28 years old. It's really not fun being this young and yet feeling so old! Anyway, I started eating Paleo (actually started with SCD/GAPS and then moved to Paleo) to control my autoimmune issues. The diet has helped tremendously with the GI symptoms. Everything is pretty much back to normal in that regard. However, I still do have joint pain. It's better than what it would be without the dietary changes, but it hasn't completely gone away by any means. I'm still hopeful that the symptoms will continue to lessen with time, as I've only been on the diet for 3 months. It is certainly worth trying though. This lifestyle has improved so many of my health issues, it is truly amazing. I recommend that you initially follow the Paleo auto-immune protocol or look into the intro GAPS diet. I write about my experiences on my blog if you want to check it out. Good luck to you!

D535751befad3d9d308ceb0b3ad72f70

(10)

on October 29, 2012
at 05:16 AM

Hey Katy! Thanks for the message! You're right about being young and feeling old... although the pain of the arthritis is obviously a major issue, there's also different pain associated with hearing "but isn't that something only old people get?" when you tell people you have arthritis... I'm very lucky to not have any GI issues (except those caused by the medication), but was amazed when I read on your blog that your Dr didn't think diet would help your GI symptoms - western medicine seems so silly sometimes. I'm glad you're feeling better though and hope you continue to improve!

629b9895e282d0ef15b465b064100f83

on November 09, 2012
at 08:12 AM

Unfortunately, that is far too common- the vast majority of physicians that I've dealt with do not believe diet has a major impact on Crohn's or other autoimmune disease. It is ridiculous. My rheumatologist, however, is the first doctor that I've spoke to that supports my Paleo lifestyle and does believe that it is helping me. Take care!

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