This information is based on Dr. Greger’s video, “Why Do Plant-Based Diets Help Rheumatoid Arthritis?” The video can be freely accessed at Dr. Greger’s NutritionFacts.org, website.
Rheumatoid arthritis may be triggered by autoimmune friendly fire against a urinary tract infection bacteria called Proteus mirabilis, which could help explain why sufferers randomized to a plant-based diet experience such remarkable benefit.
The question that naturally arises is what does diet have to do with inflammatory joint disease?
Note that women seem to get Rheumatoid Arthritis 3-4 times as often as men, so that any explanation for the disease has to account for this difference.
What type of infection do women get 3-4 more times than men? Urinary Tract Infections.
So researchers started testing the urine of rheumatoid arthritis sufferers and discovered that the most common bacteria infecting the RA patients urine was a bacteria called Proteus Mirabilis.
In most of the RA patients the organism was found in too low of numbers to show clinical symptoms of a UTI, but significant enough to trigger an immune response.
And there is a remarkable resemblance between the molecules that comprise Proteus Mirabilis and the collagen molecules in our joints. This is known as molecular mimicry.
And because these molecules are so structurally similar, anti-Proteus Mirabilis antibodies formulated by our immune system to fight the bacteria may inadvertently damage our own joint tissues, eventually leading to their destruction.
Therefore, if you dramatically reduce the number of Proteus Mirabilis bacteria in your system, you also reduce the intensity and duration of the body’s immune response. This means you also reduce the amount of inflammation while simultaneously reducing the progression of the disease, while encouraging remission.
So how do your significantly drop the number of Proteus Mirabilis bacteria in your system?
By changing to a vegetarian diet you change the composition of your gut bacteria. A shift from the Standard American Diet to a vegetarian diet also influences the composition of the urine. The urine of those on a vegetarian diet has a higher lignan content. It is thought that the anti-microbial properties of the lignans help clear Proteus Mirabilis from your system.
I am a whole food, plant based health coach in Gilbert, Arizona. Please feel free to contact me here at www.genesishealthcoach.com or on Facebook with any comments or questions you may have. My favorite aunt suffered from Rheumatoid Arthritis for many years. Sadly, this information is too late to help her but I’m hoping it can help some of you suffering from the same disease now.