Rheumatoid arthritis and dietary interventions: systematic review of clinical trials

Elena Philippou, Sara Danuta Petersson, Carrie Rodomar, Elena Nikiphorou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


CONTEXT: The impact of various dietary interventions on rheumatoid arthritis (RA), characterized by immune-inflammatory response, has been subject to increased attention. OBJECTIVE: A systematic review was conducted to update the current knowledge on the effects of nutritional, dietary supplement, and fasting interventions on RA outcomes. DATA SOURCES: Following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, with prespecification of all methods, Medline and Embase were systematically searched for relevant articles. DATA EXTRACTION: Data were extracted by 2 independent reviewers. RESULTS: A total of 70 human studies were identified. Administration of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids at high doses resulted in a reduction in RA disease activity and a lower failure rate of pharmacotherapy. Vitamin D supplementation and dietary sodium restriction were beneficial on some RA outcomes. Fasting resulted in significant but transient subjective improvements. While the Mediterranean diet demonstrated improvements in some RA disease activity measures, outcomes from vegetarian, elimination, peptide, or elemental diets suggested that responses are very individualized. CONCLUSION: Some dietary approaches may improve RA symptoms and thus it is recommended that nutrition should be routinely addressed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)410-428
Number of pages19
JournalNutrition reviews
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 9 Mar 2021


  • dietary supplement
  • fasting
  • fish oils
  • Mediterranean diet
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • vegetarian diet


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