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Br J Nutr. 2000 Nov;84(5):589-95.

The role of meat in the expression of rheumatoid arthritis.

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Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is characterized by inflammation of the synovial tissues in the joints. A number of papers related to dietary components that are associated with this inflammation are reviewed. In addition, the ecological approach is used to study the links between diet and RA. Multi-country data for prevalence of RA for females from eight and fifteen countries were compared statistically with components of national dietary supply. Fat from meat and offal for the period 2 years before the prevalence data was found to have the highest statistical association with the prevalence of RA (r(2) 0.877, P<0.001 for eight countries). The statistical correlations for meat and offal were almost as high as those for their fat. Similar correlations were found for temporal changes in indices of effects of RA in several European countries between 1968 and 1978 as more meat was added to the national diets, although the correlations were higher for meat than for fat. It is hypothesized that meat and offal may be a major factor contributing to the inflammation in RA. In the present short review, the author examines some of the data that associate meat consumption with RA and the possible factors, e.g. fat, Fe and nitrite, which may contribute to the inflammation.

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