Nutrition in RMDs: Is it really food for thought? Focus on rheumatoid arthritis

Alessia Alunno, Elena Nikiphorou, Elena Philippou, Claire Daien, Dieter Wiek, Marios Kouloumas, Maurizio Cutolo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The relationship between food and health is known since the antiquity and in the field of rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs), mainly rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a large number of studies has been published over the last 50 years encompassing different aspects of nutrition. This led to postulate a role of nutrients for both primary prevention of RMDs in the general population and secondary prevention of disease flares and complications in patients with an established RMD. Main body of abstract: We aimed to summarise and critically discuss current evidence on the role of different nutrients and dietary regimens in RMDs with a focus on RA. Over the last years, some seminal papers proved that some compounds, such as salt, can directly modulate the immune system and large epidemiological studies have been linking dietary patters with the risk to develop RMDs. However, physicians' knowledge about the role of diet in disease prevention and treatment is often poor and ultimately diet is rarely perceived as a companion of pharmacological treatment. Conclusions: Based on the currently available evidence, we are not (yet?) in the phase of putting diet on the same level as pharmacological treatment in RMDs and in particular, RA, but future studies will likely shed additional light on this controversial topic and at least might suggest a value as dietary prevention of risk factors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10
JournalBMC Rheumatology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2020


  • Immune system
  • Mediterranean diet
  • Rheumatoid arthritis


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