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The Best Diet for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic systemic autoimmune disease affecting millions. It is characterized by persistent pain, stiffness, and progressive joint destruction leading to crippling deformities, particularly in the hands and feet. What can we do to prevent and treat it?

In my video Why Do Plant-Based Diets Help Rheumatoid Arthritis?, I show a famous 13-month randomized controlled trial of plant-based diets for rheumatoid arthritis where patients were put on a vegan diet for three and a half months and then switched to an egg-free lactovegetarian diet for the remainder of the study. Compared to the control group (who didn’t change their diet at all), the plant-based group experienced significant improvements starting within weeks. Their morning stiffness improved within the first month, cutting the number of hours they suffered from joint stiffness in half. Their pain level dropped from 5 out of 10 down to less than 3 out of 10. Disability levels dropped, and subjects reported feeling better; they had greater grip strength, fewer tender joints, less tenderness per joint, and less swelling. They also had a drop in inflammatory markers in their blood, such as sedimentation rate, C-reactive protein, and white blood cell count. As a bonus, they lost about 13 pounds and kept most of that weight off throughout the year.

What does diet have to do with joint disease?

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, in which our own body attacks the lining of our joints. There’s also a different autoimmune disease called rheumatic fever, in which our body attacks our heart. Why would it do that? It appears to be a matter of friendly fire.

Rheumatic fever is caused by strep throat, which is itself caused by a bacterium that has a protein that looks an awful lot like a protein in our heart. When our immune system attacks the strep bacteria, it also attacks our heart valves, triggering an autoimmune attack by “molecular mimicry.” The protein on the strep bacteria is mimicking a protein in our heart; so, our body gets confused and attacks both. That’s why it’s critical to treat strep throat early to prevent our heart from getting caught in the crossfire.

Researchers figured that rheumatoid arthritis might be triggered by an infection as well. A clue to where to start looking was the fact that women seem to get it three times more frequently than men. What type of infection do women get more than men? Urinary tract infections (UTIs). So, researchers started testing the urine of rheumatoid arthritis sufferers and, lo and behold, found a bacterium called Proteus mirabilis. Not enough to cause symptoms of a UTI, but enough to trigger an immune response. And indeed, there’s a molecule in the bacterium that looks an awful lot like one of the molecules in our joints.

The theory is that anti-Proteus antibodies against the bacterial molecule may inadvertently damage our own joint tissues, leading eventually to joint destruction. Therefore, interventions to remove this bacterium from the bodies of patients, with consequent reduction of antibodies against the organism, should lead to a decrease in inflammation.

As we saw in my video Avoiding Chicken to Avoid Bladder Infections, urinary tract infections originate from the fecal flora. The bacteria crawl up from the rectum into the bladder. How might we change the bugs in our colons? By changing our diet.

Some of the first studies published more than 20 years ago to fundamentally shift people’s gut flora were done using raw vegan diets, figuring that’s about as fundamental a shift from the standard Western diet as possible. Indeed, within days researchers could significantly change subjects’ gut flora. When researchers put rheumatoid arthritis sufferers on that kind of diet, they experienced relief, and the greatest improvements were linked to greatest changes in gut flora. The diet was considered so intolerable, though, that half the patients couldn’t take it and dropped out, perhaps because they were trying to feed people things like “buckwheat-beetroot cutlets” buttered with a spread made out of almonds and fermented cucumber juice.

Thankfully, regular vegetarian and vegan diets work too, changing the intestinal flora and improving rheumatoid arthritis. However, we didn’t specifically have confirmation that plant-based diets brought down anti-Proteus antibodies until 2014. Subjects that responded to the plant-based diet showed a significant drop in anti-Proteus mirabilis antibodies compared to the control group. Maybe it just dropped immune responses across the board? No, antibody levels against other bugs remained the same; so, the assumption is that the plant-based diet reduced urinary or gut levels of the bacteria.

A shift from an omnivorous to a vegetarian diet has a profound influence on the composition of urine as well. For example, those eating plant-based had higher levels of lignans in their urine. Up until now, it was thought that they only protected people from getting cancer, but we now know lignans can also have antimicrobial properties. Perhaps, they help clear Proteus mirabilis from the system. Either way, these data suggest a new type of therapy for the management of rheumatoid arthritis: anti-Proteus measures including plant-based diets.

I have to admit I had never even heard of Proteus mirabilis. That’s why I love doing work—I learn as much as you do!

I explored another unconventional theory as to why plant-based diets are so successful in treating inflammatory arthritis in Potassium and Autoimmune Disease.

There’s another foodborne bacteria implicated in human disease, the EXPEC in chicken leading to urinary tract infections—another game-changer: Avoiding Chicken To Avoid Bladder Infections.

I have a bunch of videos on gut flora—the microbiome. They include: 

In health,

Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live, year-in-review presentations:


Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.

97 responses to “The Best Diet for Rheumatoid Arthritis

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  1. Anyone have toughts on best diet for psoriasis ? My wife broke out at 70 ! Geez, conventional wisdom seems to be high fat but would like to avoid that route if possible.

    1. hi Mike, I just happened to be reading about this topic moments ago at this link If you scroll down through the comment section til you arrive at poster “Nurzat” question, you will see four replies about the benefits of eating a plant based diet for autoimmune conditions, including psoriasis. Dr Forrester and a dermatologist he works with both chime in with their thoughts. I hope it helps a bit with your question. All the best in health to you.

    2. Mike – I don’t know if this would help her, but I think eating a cup of a high quality yogurt every day helps me. My psoriasis is gone (for now). I’m also a health foodie in general and close to vegetarian. I thought the improvement in the gut bacteria from the yogurt, my overall very high fiber diet, lots of produce, green smoothies, and fermented foods as well that I consume might be the reason psoriasis is leaving me alone for now. I use a yogurt called Triple Zero that has a lot of fiber in it too. It’s a no-fat Greek yogurt. But I would think any good yogurt could be helpful. I had psoriasis on my ankle and the corner of my mouth. I also used a natural topical product from the health food store called Natralia Eczema & Psoriasis Cream that seemed to help. Best of luck to your wife!

    3. Check this out on Dr McDougall’s website:

      That is the first of his success stories I came across that mentioned psoriasis, but I know there are others.

      His long list of success stories also includes several rheumatoid arthritis sufferers who went into remission and stayed there while following his diet, which is whole foods plant based and emphasizes starch.

      The trouble with people who promote a Paleo diet is that they don’t look at how successful civilizations have lived throughout history. They all ate starch based diets.

    4. Hi Mike. I have been taking wholefood, plant-based capsules for 13 years now. They have a Nutrition label, not a Supplement label, because it’s whole food.

      I have stories and pictures of people with psoriasis to show you their results. Our bodies heal from the inside with proper nutrition.

    5. High Carb Low Fat Vegan, this is what Dr Greger recommends.
      For specific help with skin conditions search on YouTube for Rob Stuart & EcezmaHealing videos. They both follow Dr Greger vegan/plant based healing/ lifestyle to heal all skin conditions eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, acne etc with lots of testimonies.

    6. SCD diet, vegan version of it, or maybe some eggs (not fried) and the rest plant-based.
      Specific Carbohydrate diet. Works wonders for lots of people. It’s a macrobiome issue,
      psoriasis, for many of us. Please please please give the “SCD” diet a try. It is not a joke.
      Find the list online of “acceptable and unacceptable foods”, and if i give one suggestion,
      do not combine high-starch-allowed foods (like certain beans) with fat (avocados, nuts, seeds.)
      Try to get your fats just in whole form, like the avos nuts and seeds, just eat them without
      lots of starch. Eat alone or with greens.

    7. I have psoriasis in my ears. Six years of itchy ears! I am switching to a plant based diet a la Dr. Joel Fuhrman and am getting good relief. When I splurge on sugary foods, my ears start itching again and the excess skin production returns. When I eat vegetables and fruit, it all settles down and my ears are closer to normal.

  2. Have been tentatively diagnosed with inflammatory arthritis. Elevated sed rate of 50, but Rheumatoid factors, CRP and other markets are normal. The autoimmune protocol diet emphasizes lots of unhealthy animal protein and saturated fats and prohibits legumes, nuts, seeds, gluten, gluten-free whole grains and high glycemic fruits. The claim is that legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains contain proteins that irrigate the already “leaky gut.” I think the paleo and autoimmune protocol are insane. What do you think of the advice to avoid beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains to treat autoimmune/rheumatoid disorders?

    1. With all due respect to Dr. Greger’s work, I’m very excited to have found a book just released by Dr. Steven Gundry titled “The Plant Paradox”. I’ve only had the book a few days, but what I’ve read so far makes sense and offers more insight into the microbiome and self healing through a plant based diet. Sample meal plans are flexible containing chicken or salmon along with vegan and/or vegetarian variations followed by recipes and tips. Hope this helps.

      1. I agree. I got his book just a few days ago also. I became impressed by watching his YouTube videos. I have been suffering with inflammation of my hip back and hands for over two years and been vegan more than one following McDougall style supplementing with Dr. Gregors info (who I appreciate greatly for his nonbiased scientific viewpoint and hard work helping us all). Don’t get me wrong I felt about 40% better on plant based but still was painful. I have only eliminated the night shades and feel a lot better already. There is something to this lectin leaky gut thing. ☺️

      2. Hi John, I didn’t read this book yet but I read in a review that Dr. Gundry mainly speaks about lectins and what they do in our body. But there is no lectin, there are many differents lectins in each fruit, nuts, vegetables and so fort. Some of them can be toxic for humans, especially if we eat them raw (like in firebeans)… I’m not saying Dr. Gundry is wrong but for me, it is to simple and short thinking to set the blame for some diseases only to one part in the food. Dr. Greger, Dr. Mc. Dougal, Dr. Barnardt … and of course Dr. Champbell stress always “the whole is more then the amount of his individuell parts”. For me that means my (food) past, my genes, the invironment where I life, my social contacts, my psyche als this plays a role and affect my health. It makes even a different if I consum my food raw or cooked, in the morning or in the evening, do I sit by eating or do I work, what kind of plants and drinks I combine … and more. And then Dr. Gundry likes to tell me it’s only the lectine, which are in nearly all food in this world? Is this not short thinking??? Or is it more because he “allowed” people to eat meat?
        What I like to say is – Dr. Greger shows on his site the best evidence, he and his team can find, to show the generall benefit of a plant based diet compared with all other types of diet. Look at the words “salmon” and “chicken” in his search bar and you will find a lot for not even eating a single stripe of this… ;-)
        For a better understanding what I also try to say may you read the book:
        Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 6. Mai 2014
        von T. Colin Campbell (Autor), Howard Jacobson

      3. Please look up Dr Gregor’s response to Gundy- I am not sure,at least I don’t recall Gregor ever saying anything about anyone else this way but he felt compelled to under pressure from others because of the widespread influence of Gundy is having. I will let Gregor’s comments speak for me her. Michael Gregor and Joel Fohrman seem to be the most trustworthy, knowledgeable, honest sources of the best science-based research and knowledge on nutrition as I investigate everything thoroughly as an intellectual exercise instead of trusting what I read, and I do this also for fun—Gregor stands out in integrity here.

  3. Thank you. I was recently diagnosed with RA and the doctor said diet has no real impact on RA. I knew that was wrong as certain foods definitely make my RA flare up. The popular alternative-health advice right now is an anti-grain, anti-dairy, Paleo-type diet, which seems counter to what I expected based on what I’ve read/watched here about meats being inflammatory and whole-food plants being anti-inflammatory. As I recently started eating whole food, plant-strong, vegetarian (just enough sardines for vit. B12), I’ve was feeling confused about how I ought to eat for RA. This was helpful.

    1. Debbie, Just want to mention that you can easily get your B12 from a supplement. This way no sardines have to be murdered. Important if you care about the animals.

      1. Denise, I tried a vit. B12 supplement, and it flared my RA like nothing else has. I tried a different brand thinking maybe it was a bad brand, but the same thing happened (though not quite as bad). So obviously, I’m a little leery of using vit. B12 supplements.

        1. Debbie,
          There are other ways to supplement Vit B12 i.e fortified non-dairy milk, Nutritional Yeast, etc. Nutritional Yeast in particular is is a source of other B vitamins and a great flavor boost. Give it a try before buying another can of sardines. Your body and fish will be grateful. Enjoy!

    2. Advice and opinions abound. Dr G presents a compilation of the best current science. The common sense thing to do is to make yourself fully compliant for at least a full month or more and see what happens, no one else can know your body like you can. I had to quit my doctors who were still warning me about the damage I would incur on a whole food plant based diet despite the obvious reversal of several serious diseases their drugs and diet had done nothing for in years!

      1. Not surprisingly, several doctors told us that without meat/dairy/eggs our diet is nutritionally lacking and unhealthy. One highly respected doctor tried to convince us to at least take fish oil supplements. He was more open-minded than most western trained doctors, but still …

    3. I agree with you ! I have R.A. also and my Dr. Said that diet doesn’t effect R.A. ! I told him that I disagree because I noticed that I had flares when I ate processed foods and that I felt much better when I ate natural plain foods. I find it surprising that drs. don’t know that eating healthy helps calm down inflammation !? They just go by the book and prescribe medications that have side effects ..sad..

  4. I follow Dr. Fuhrman’s autoimmune protocol and have just a little bit of psoriasis on my knees. I used to have 30-50% coverage. I’m 60 and have had psoriasis all my life. All psoriatic arthritis is gone. This has worked for me for more than 10 years. I am near vegan (a little fish). I do avoid gluten, dairy (obviously), and cashews because of my personal sensitivities.

    Recently, I added a tablespoon of hemp seeds to my smoothies and noticed that my knees are clearing. I think it is the GLA.

  5. I meant to say that I have tried a paleo auto-immune detour and a high coconut oil diet with terrible, awful results. Plant based whole food is what works for me. Another approach that did work for me is Paddison’s RA diet, which is a version of McDougall. Also vegan.

    Coconut oil, however, is the best topical moisturizer I have ever used. I mix it with vegetable glycerin.

  6. Considering this new potential RA cause, what does Dr. Greger think about the other theory, that animal proteins leak through the gut, land in the bloodstream, lodges somewhere and then an autoimmune response is generated? Is this gut theory still a cause too. I would think more than 1 cause is quite likely but would like to hear from him or one of the moderators on this question.

  7. Hi and thanks for this it was very interesting to read about the link between infection and RA. Can I ask if this would also apply for JRA? I know already that JRA also responds favourbly to a WFPB diet but is the same bacterial involved? Also, is there a time line between infection and onset of RA / JRA symptoms?

  8. This info is really helpful. I got RA when I was 42 and I found a GP who had studied nutrition. He told me to stop all medication and put me on an alkaline diet with very limited animal products. It took me a year to be able to walk properly again and become totally pain free. Now at the age of 68 I fine as long as I stick to my now 95% vegan diet. Had only one flare up in all these years caused by gorging on plums.

    1. Bernette Wow! Glad to hear the 95% vegan diet has helped your symptoms. I am thrilled that this article came out today. I just went to a integrative, functional medicine doctor who is very knowledgeable about nutrition and supplements. But it defies logic to put Inflamed patients on a diet high in animal protein that promotes inflammation. After a ton of labs, She put me on a diet of lots of wild-caught fish, poultry, gluten free whole grains, nuts, seeds, a ton of vegetables, some fruit and limited legumes. No soy, eggs, dairy, or wheat/rye/barley. I had been following dr Greger’s diet from “how not to die” and this so-called elimination diet is so contrary to the plant-based diet… A plant-based alkaline diet makes much more sense.

    This is a link to a TED Talk by Dr. Terry Wahls, MD. She recounts how she overcame MS and got out of a wheelchair and zero gravity chair and now leads a very active and athletic life. She did this by eating a ton of veggies daily and animal organs like liver, heart, etc. She contends that organ meats are necessary to get the necessary amount of micro-nutrients. She’s treated many with this diet and has a book out with the results.

    I’m a committed vegan, have been for years. And I know Dr. Greger has before referred to a vegan diet that has arrested MS in patients for decades. I’d like to see more information and analysis about the vegan version of this approach so that people MS sufferers see there is a choice and that animal products are not a needed part of the treatment.


  10. I made the switch to a PBWF diet 6mths ago and the results have been spectacular , having had a quady bypass 6 years ago I’m now off almost all meds including blood pressure and I’m confident the next blood test will see me off the cholesterol tabs as well BUT — the one great disappointment for me has been a worsening of my finger & hand pain !! I fully expected the absence of dairy & eggs etc would be the answer but sadly that hasn’t been the case for me and I’m SO disappointed!! My only hope is maybe it will kick in for me in years to come instead of months like I’d hoped !

    1. Sorry to hear about your pain.
      I’ve been a vegan for 3 years now, vegetarian before that. Stopped eating eggs and dairy after reading Dr. Campbell’s “The China study”. I eat wholesome food. Never ate junk food, somehow never got addicted to it. Yet, the pain in my fingers is almost constant, especially after hours of typing using a mouse. I do Chi Gong with an 86-yr old master and use Indian oils, which help a lot with managing pain. Still hoping 1 day to be pain-free.

    2. Finger and hand pain / joint pain, could it be B12 malabsorption caused by h-pylori infection (check it out). Read up and test before treating. contains the most thorough info (vegan friendly).

  11. Has anyone noticed a bad reaction to foods that are meant to be good for joints? I can’t eat almonds as they made my knee joins highly painful, and my son had the same reaction a few weeks ago. I thought I was developing arthritis but pain stopped 24 hours or so after stopping eating them. I’d be interested to hear any similar experiences.

  12. to Denise, I thought you might be interested in this page
    Dr Klaper is one of the well respected plant based doctors who you might have seen on youtube giving one of his enjoyable talks. That page discusses arthritis and the Paddison protocol which as you will see categorizes foods into groups more or less challenging for arthritis sufferers. Almonds are in the advanced group I noticed. Have a look and see if this might help guide you through the food maize.
    I am having issues myself and am about to try the first 2 weeks of the protocol.

  13. Any idea how a vegetarian/vegan diet affects undifferentiated spondyloarthritis? I imagine it would help, but my rheumatologist says he has no “proof” a change in diet helps at all. In fact, he dismissed my question about an anti-inflammatory diet in under 30 seconds.

    1. Becky,

      Reduction in any inflammatory pathway, be that via diet, supplements or medications will reduce the intensity and/or potential continuity of many forms of arthritis. As to the issue of “proof”, how about challenging him to come up with some ? There is a large body of evidence, published in peer reviewed literature that we, at Nutrition Facts use to document the claims made. As a note Dr. Greger puts on classes to teach folks how to search the literature more effectively

      There will always be those who choose to outright dismiss some form of treatment that they don’t know about or understand. I would also ask that you inquire as to your physicians background and training in nutrition. I don’t take a plumbers advise for electrical…….and yes this is solely my opinion.

      You might find1800 published articles with the terms spondyloarthritis and nutrition at: to be of interest.

      Also you will note that the Spondylitis society even gives a hands up to checking dietary response.

      Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger

  14. I’m reading “The Plant Paradox” by Dr. Gundry- just released last month. It follows much of the same research as Dr. Greger BUT says to avoid all beans, legumes, grains, cashews and plants of the nightshade family such as tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, and eggplant because of lectins, and all fruit except for avocado … many some berries… because of the sugar. Way too exclusive for me but then again I’m not suffering the pain of RA or any disease. Just want to be as healthy as possible. Any thoughts on lectins? I did a search on this website and didn’t see it addressed.

    1. I too am interested to hear Dr. Greger’s answer to your question Beverly. I, for one, must avoid all nightshades, all dairy products and wheat. I am not certain what exactly it is in these foods that aggravate my joints, CFS and fibromyalgia -is it solanin or lectins, or something else… who knows?

      1. On 5/6/17 Dr. Greger was available for 2 different live Q&A events. I attempted to receive an answer from Dr. Greger concerning any knowledge of Dr. Gundry’s research through the live you tube event presented by Dr. Greger. Unfortunately beside the concise question post were the mundane and repeitive, impossible for Dr. Greger to address them all.

    2. For personal research through the years friends and I have studied and/or experimented from time to time apply bits and pieces of the many popular alternative eating programs/diets from ovo lacto vegetarian to macrobiotic, paleo to vegan in our daily lives. That said, imho anyone looking to seriously try the experiment of the 3 day kick start cleanse in Dr. Gundry’s latest book better be prepared before they start to continue into phase 2, which develops into a self styled combination from the phase 1 kick start cleanse to broader menu options suggested to last a full 6 weeks. After that in phase 3 you are given the option to slowly reintroduce other various plant foods back into your diet while monitoring any perceived response.
      If I were to write a review for this book at amazon where I’m a verified purchaser I would highly recommend reading it simply for more knowledge to consider in your own search for better health.

  15. Hi, I’m new to the blog and need help with my body aches and pains. I have osteoarthritis and muscle cramping. Reading different books on the topic has me so confused because what I eat and vit I take the next book I read suggests differently. What would be the best advise to follow

    1. Colleen,

      I’d like to challenge you to a 3-4 week adherence to the WFPB diet….. If you feel better and your pain is either relieved, decrease or better yet gone…. you have your answer.

      I do appreciate the complexity of diet suggestions and the various contradictory materials we all hear, regularly. My clinical experience has shown me time and again how most, not all, patients will derive some benefits and often times LOTS of results from eating the WFPB way, with supplements.

      Remember all you have to lose is some pain and aches……..good luck and heres to seeing your pain gone….

      Dr, Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger

      1. Even though I have a tentative diagnosis of “inflammatory arthritis,” a whole food-plant based diet makes total sense to me. Paleo and AIP Diets heavy on animal protein and fat seem to promote, not decrease , inflammation. And cutting entire categories of food (grains, legumes, nuts) because of lectins and saccharides seems questionable. Thrilled to hear a doctor recommend a Plant based, whole food diet. Thank you.

        1. What i don’t get is with all the proof, people who have great success with wfpb diets, a guy like Mercola could write books knocking this type of diet. (he threw me off his site a few years ago when i asked for proof from real people with what he promoted , always politely, not to mention the prices on some supplements he hawks–er–sells. At least he is in shape, not like some others. This controversy will go on forever.

          1. So, why does the whole food, plant based diet get so little attention for autoimmune or anti inflammation diets? If Drs. Gregor, McDougall and even Fuhrman get good results, why does it sound like Paleo is the only meal plan in town? You read those blogs and it sounds like whole grains and legumes are toxic. I’m confused.

    1. Karen ,

      In a circuitous way possibly……..

      I would direct you to this article regarding those with recurrent UTI’s and issues with immune function.

      Also consider the additive burden of inflammation with an UTI. Could this chronic burden be a link and alter your immune function…… why not ?

      As to chronic UTI’s being a predictor of RA…….. I did a brief search and did not find a definitive study however, perhaps the link is genetic susceptibility, and a study with inclusion of the Proteus bacteria in the urine of RA patients and their genetic sequencing would give us better info.

      Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger

  16. I’d like to print just this article for a friend who has rheumatoid arthritis. However, my computer wants to print 29 pages, which includes the comments – I don’t need them to be printed. Is there a way to do just the article?

    1. Rick, can you cut and paste the section your want into a Word document? Copy only the section you want, then cut it and paste it.
      Another options is to use a “snipping tool” to snip the section you want.

  17. Mike, if you are still reading comments, chia seeds are not a good substitute for hemp seeds. I’ve been eating flax and chia for a long time without much effect on my psoriasis (I’m sure they helped my general health, I still eat them). It was the hemp seeds that had a startling effect. What I’ve discovered is that GLA is uniquely helpful in psoriasis. Hemps seeds are legal and available in the U.S., and do not contain marijuana’s THC. However, to step up the effect, I now take a 1/2 teaspoon of borage oil, so you can go that route. Any health food store should be able to supply you with that.

    However. This is one of those nutritional cures that only works against a background of an already excellent plant-based diet. In fact, you need an elimination plant-based diet to start with. I like Paddison’s, which you can see outlined for free on Dr. Klaper’s site under RA.

    1. Thanks Anne, her diet is very good, i’ll give Paddison a peek. Not big on processed oils but will think about borage.

  18. Mike, totally with you on processed oils, I don’t normally use them myself. That’s why I am inclined to use the hemp seeds as a natural source and hope to use the borage oil as a temporary bump up in something I apparently was missing or don’t metabolize well.

    Paddison is very anti-oil. His program is very much an adaptation of McDougall. He charges on his website, but it is outlined on Dr.Klaper’s site. Best of health to both of you!

  19. Thank you for your good work and for sharing Dr. Greger. My daughter was diagnosed with RA a few years ago at age 22. She has been vegetarian since the age of 16. She does have goat yogurt regularly for probiotic health and occasionally goat cheese and eggs. She is on methotrexate and plaquinol and high dose folic acid. My question is: 1. With all the current hype about collagen, is it possible the RA may have been caused by or worsened by the lack of collagen in her diet?

    1. hi Shelby, I thought you might enjoy reading this article
      It is an interview by Clint Paddison with Dr McDougall containing interesting discussion about chronic illness, RA, diet and the benefits of adopting a wfpb diet.
      If you havent heard it yet, Clint’s journey through agonizing pain to wellness is amazing Well worth the 20 minutes to watch.

      In my case, my health changed profoundly for the good once I ditched the last cup of milk and tablespoon of kefir (my gut healed AFTER I dumped the dairy).. Do a topic search for dairy at the top of the page for more informative videos. Enjoy the links, and I wish you the best in health.

    2. Hi Shelby,
      Thanks for your question. The Arthritis Research UK website summarises the tests with collagen for treating rheumatoid arthritis, and suggests it is not as effective as traditional medicines. Therefore, it is unlikely that your daughter will have missed it. As the article mentions, animal-based diets may in fact be worse for this condition. This summary page gives some specific notes on what can reduce pain.
      I hope your daughter is well.

  20. As always Doctor Gregers work here is a life saver and I have followed his advice for a few years now and benefited by feeling healthier. I have the book too! So, it was obvious that when a family member, my son in law, was diagnosed with scleroderma this weekend, both he and my daughter went into a tail spin, and I did as much as I could explaining there was a way forward, we just had to find it.
    Scleroderma is also an inflammatory disease and so I came to this section and will begin here to discover more about how it is triggered and more importantly how its managed or even defeated. Interestingly my son in law is a body builder and consumes vast quantities of meat and protein powders so I am pretty sure there must be a link here, especially with the evidence of the bugs from pork. Can anyone direct me the latest thinking in combating this disease through diet? Thanks. Alan

    1. Hi Alan. I’m hoping this message is sent to you. I’m so sorry for the diagnosis of your son-in-law. Unfortunately there is no cure for this disease as of yet. And with a heavy heavy heart I also will share with you that my good friend passed away this last October from this horrible horrible disease. He was 52 and two years after he was diagnosed, scleroderma took his life. I would highly recommend a whole food plant-based diet for your son in law. I’m wishing you all the best and to learn as much as you can, support as much as you can, and love as much as you can.

    2. hi Alan007, I dont know if you will check back and see this post, but just wanted to say that I am keeping your family in mind as I go about my daily nutrition information searches. I am not a health professional, but I do have issues with auto-immune disease (in the family also) which I have managed to subdue with wfpb eating.

      I was watching this video of Dr John McDougall this morning speak on inflammatory auto immune disease, the cause and treatment.
      At the 30:34 mark you will see scleroderma listed among the auto immune conditions that Dr McDougall is addressing.

      Addressing the leaky gut by removing all animal foods from the diet would seem to be the message allowing the body to heal.

      I will check back here Alan, and if there is anything I can help you find, please let me know.

  21. Hi Susan,
    Thanks for all your insights here. Are there any ways to help for a committed 23 years vegan, that’s 68 dianozed with RA this June? I have been doing extensive search and now following a strick potatoes and steam veggies diet. Refuse to start any steroid drugs prescribed, only 1 Naproxen tablet a day. I live alone and have no family support.

    1. Hello Susan,
      I am a family doctor with a private practice in lifestyle medicine, and am a volunteer moderator for this website. I assume that you have read Dr. G’s article, above, which discusses how and why a plant-based diet helps with rheumatoid arthritis: it has been shown to decrease the level of antibodies against the Proteus bacteria, which helps because these antibodies also react against your own joint tissue.

      Your might also look at the video he references:

      Based on your question, though, it seems that maybe what you’re asking is for some specific advice about exactly what to eat, to help with your RA. It turns out that it doesn’t matter very much exactly what you eat, as long as you stick with eating vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and legumes — and avoid all animal products. If you want some specific recipes, a good place to start is with the “21-day Kickstart” program, from the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). Here is a link to those recipes:

      If I’ve misunderstood your question, please let me know. I hope this helps.

      Dr. Jon
      Volunteer moderator for

      1. Dr. Jon, Any cure for my RA nightmare??
        I’m 68, a committed vegan for 23 years.
        My RA might have been subtle, I haven’t really noticed. It all flared up while I was vacationing in a campsite in Taiwan. High humidity placed a factor I’m sure as well as mosquito and flying tick bites.
        I am not sure what else triggered it.


  22. (Herbal Cure For Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA))
    I first lost my ability to stand up from a sitting position due to total body weakness. The physician I saw that same week ran a blood test and told me it appeared to be rheumatoid arthritis (RA) few weeks later i came across a testimony of one lady on the internet testifying about a herbal medicine home called perfecthealthherbalmedicinehome,run by dr sithuu, on how they cured her of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). And she also gave the email address of the herbal home and advised everybody to contact for help for any kind of diseases , so I emailed them,they replied and told me not to worry and they promised to cure me totally. Well i never believed it,,but i was so desperate,so i purchased the herbal medicine, well after used as prescribed, few weeks later i started experiencing changes,after 3 weeks usage i went to my doctor to confirmed if am finally cured of rheumatoid arthritis (RA),behold it was TRUE,i was totally cured , So friends my advise is if you have such disease or any other at all you can contact them via email: perfecthealthherbalmedicine gmail’com or website www’perfecthealthherbal weebly’com
    and I have two friends who have been cured by perfect health recently. they are very dedicated and knowledgeable. Thank you perfect health herbal medicine home …

    1. Thank you, Gibs, Will definitely give it a try. I understand how natural herbs works I am Asian.
      Do this company have a U S distributor? Where we can go visit?

      Many thanks!

    2. Hi Gibs, i am looking for the website you mentioned in your comment, but can not find it. I also suffer from RA and am following a plantbased diet already. Not helping enough. I was wondering what that dr sithuu can do for me. I live in Holland. Hope you can give me their address so i can read about them.
      Regards Tilly

  23. What are your thoughts about antibiotic therapy for RA? There are numerous mentions of success with low dose tetracyclines. That would support the bacteria theory of RA. Perhaps this with a WFPB diet would be even more helpful??!

    1. Please check Dr. Gundrys’ Plant Paradox. I am 50 vegan over 1 year and was having developing hip lower back and finger joint pain so bad I could barely button my pants or write. I am much better now at least 85 % better in one month. You could watch his videos all over YouTube to start. Good luck ☺️

      1. If you are saying you have healed due to the inclusion of animal products (recommended in Plant Paradox), it could be because of increased B12, achievable with sublingual B12 supplementation instead. See Dr.Greger’s updated video on Plant Paradox too.

  24. Sarah, You asked about antibiotic therapy for RA and as a nurse and volunteer with, I wanted to cite two studies you may want to go to that discuss successful use of antibiotics for arthritis. I believe you may find these helpful: Antibiotics for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis
    As far as if such meds with a WFPB diet would be “even more helpful”–of course! By minimizing inflammation through meds and the foods you are eating, you are going a long way towards successful treatment. If this is what you are dealing with, do continue with the WFPB eating to help you deal with your symptoms and best of health to you.

  25. HELPED

    Mason Noah
    I was diagnosed with RA at age 50. Now I’m 55 and I was in pain constantly, not to mention the intense fatigue. I was on Remicade, Arava, folic acid, and Percocet. It started in my neck and spread to both hips, hands, feet, back and just in the last two months, to my knees. I purchased RA herbal remedies online from a great herbal home called GOOD HEALTH HERBS HOME,I only used the herbal remedy for 5 weeks, my RA disappeared.pleases anyone out there going through RA pain don’t hesitate to purchased RA herbal remedy from GOOD HEALTH HERBS HOME,contact details www .goodhealthherbshome .com or drlauren@goodhealthherbshome .com.. I am so grateful i find a miracle cure. I feel like i am 30 years old now,am so strong and healthy ..

  26. I’m 28 years old and just received results back today that my rheumatoid factor is high. My PCP ordered the test because of some suspect symptoms. I’ve been vegan for 4 years now, and I’m absolutely freaking out because it’s such a terrible disease, and the medicines used to treat it are not that great for you. I’m so confused as to how this has happened. What else can I do?

    1. I have no idea if this post works! My mum has this and it grimly looks like I do as well – constant pain, immense fatigue, waking up unable to lift arms, sore feet and hands all that.

      I have also been plant based for 6 years. In the times when I am very strict – Dr McDougall style i am very well with lots of energy, no pain or injury. However, I do think even a bit of the wrong food can cause flare ups.

      I also learn about lymphatic system and I would encourage you to start looking at stopchasingpain and his lymph drainage video or go to a course.
      That is HUGE.

      Also avoid intense temperatures and intense exercise.
      Get into nature for a walk

      Apply self care and mindfulness. Stress affects us enormously and using as many ways to mimics stress is key – but also to recognise stress and get help for it if needed – from people, friends, yoga time out, nature etc.

      In terms of movement what can help is crawling and rolling (gently on mats or grass) reset movements and low intensity. multiplaner on feet and hands.
      (This is not food nutrition but movement nutrition – moving in many different ways that you do not normally move, different loads, different planes.

      for autoimmune I would alway recommend this diet and stopchasingpain information as good starts.

  27. My mother eats a whole food plant based diet for years now- she also is Vegan. But she can‘t seem to get rid of her RA. She is already 69years. Could it be that she can‘t absorb the nutrients properly? She is also very thin.

  28. Dedekind,

    There are a number of reasons that could be the irritant and indeed poor absorption, much more common as we age can be one of the many issues. When I evaluate a RA patient it’s important to also look at a host of other factors. Consider their environment, exposures and of course medications and diet. It’s common to find a number of other irritating factors that raise inflammation.

    Remember that a vegan diet can be done in many different ways. A good diet review including trying some eliminations and/or digestives can be a very profitable avenue to explore. Please, have her see a health practitioner who is knowledgeable, and I’ll bet your mom will have less RA symptoms.

    Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger

  29. Hello,
    Many doctors seem to promote paleo-like diets for Lyme disease, which they claim are anti-inflammatory diets. Does Dr Greger have any videos/information on paleo diets actually being pro-inflammatory? Thanks!

    1. Compared to the standard american diet, the paleo diet is certainly less inflammatory. There’s the elimination of heavily processed foods and inclusion of more anti-inflammatory plant-based foods. Dr. Greger has not made videos on the paleo diet and inflammation specifically; however, the modern paleo diet still includes inflammatory foods like meat. Even wild meat is inflammatory, just less-so than the conventional counterpart. For that reason, the least inflammatory diet is a whole-foods, plant-based diet.

      I hope this helps,
      Dr. Matt

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