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Why Do Plant-Based Diets Help Rheumatoid Arthritis?

August 24, 2019

rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic systemic autoimmune disease affecting millions characterized by persistent pain and stiffness and progressive joint destruction particularly in the hands and feet leading to crippling deformities what can we do to prevent it and to treat it the famous 13 month-long randomized controlled trial of plant-based diets for rheumatoid arthritis patients were put on a vegan diet for three and a half months and then switched to an egg-free lacto-vegetarian diet for the remainder of the study compared to the control group that didn’t change their diet at all the plant-based group had a significant improvement in morning stiffness within the first month cutting the number of hours they suffer from joint stiffness in half pain dropped from 5 out of 10 down to less than 3 out of 10 a drop in disability reported subjectively feeling better significant improvements in their grip strength in their hands fewer tender joints less tenderness per joint less swelling with the added benefit of losing about 13 pounds and keeping most that weight off throughout the year they also had a drop in inflammatory markers in their blood sed rate c-reactive protein white count the question is why what does diet have to do with inflammatory joint disease well rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which your body attacks the lining of your own joints why would it do that well there’s a different autoimmune disease called room rheumatic fever in which your body attacks your own heart again why would it do that well appears to be a matter of friendly-fire rheumatic fever is caused by strep throat which is caused by a bacteria that has a protein that looks an awful lot like a protein in our heart so when our immune system attacks the strep bacteria 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 so researchers thought maybe 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 rheumatoid arthritis three times more frequently than men what type of infection do women get more than men urinary tract infection so researchers started testing the urine of rheumatoid arthritis sufferers and lo and behold found this bacteria 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 that bacteria that looks an awful lot like one of our them our bone molecules in our joints so anti Proteus antibodies against the bacteria may inadvertently damage our own joint tissues leading eventually to the joint destruction therefore therapeutic interventions aimed at the removal of this bacteria from the bodies of patients with consequent reduction of antibodies against the organism should lead to a decrease in inflammation well as we saw before urinary tract infections originated from the fecal floor the bugs crawl up from the rectum into the bladder and so how might one changed the bugs and ones colon by changing our diet some of the first studies over 20 years ago I’m trying to fundamentally shift people’s gut floor we’re done using raw vegan diets figuring that’s about as fundamental a shift from the standard Western diet as one can get and indeed within days one could significantly shift someone’s gut flora and you put rheumatoid arthritis sufferers on that kind of diet and they experience Alif and the greater improvements were linked to greater changes in their gut flora but the diet was considered so intolerable 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 the spread made out of almonds and fermented coconut juice excuse me not coconut that might have been good cucumber juice thankfully regular vegetarian and vegan diets work to changing the intestinal flora and improving rheumatoid arthritis but we didn’t specifically have confirmation that plant-based diets brought down anti Proteus antibodies until now those that responded to the plant-based diet showed a significant drop in anti Proteus mirabilis antibodies compared to the control group maybe just dropped immune responses across the board no antibody levels against other bugs remain the same so the assumption is that the veg diet reduced urinary or gut levels of the bug a shift from non neveress to a vegetarian diet has profound influence on the composition of our urine for example higher levels of lignans in the urine of those eating vegetarian up until now is just thought that they protect the people eating more plant-based from getting cancer but now we know lignans can also have antimicrobial properties as well so may be helping to clear Proteus from our system either way this is just a new type of therapy for the management of rheumatoid arthritis this new treatment includes anti Proteus measures such as dietary manipulations in the forms of vegetarian diets you


  • Reply atripto cambodia May 13, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    Until now!

  • Reply Paddison Program May 13, 2015 at 11:55 pm

    Absolutely brilliant work as always – thanks once again Dr Gregor. I will share with my RA audience

  • Reply Ernie Blenkinsop May 14, 2015 at 11:10 pm

    It would not be surprising if this general mechanism where behind many other afflictions.

  • Reply dogfight156 May 16, 2015 at 12:11 am

    great vid!

  • Reply Ziba May 17, 2015 at 9:28 pm

    Amazing!! Makes sense from what I saw so far from people who are suffering, they all had long standing problems with urinary tract infection.

  • Reply May 17, 2015 at 11:06 pm

    Rheumatoid arthritis may be caused by a UTI bug that could be affected by dietary changes.

    Watch below or click the link to watch on

  • Reply Lauren Saunders May 18, 2015 at 11:29 pm

    I went vegan after months of research into how I could relieve my RA symptoms and it has had a profound effect on my pain levels. I talk a lot about it on my channel.

    Thank you for making this video!!

  • Reply Katherine Martínez June 14, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    Hi Dr. Greger,
    I'm looking for what conventional doctors are calling a “miracle” for my 70y/o mother who suffers from advanced rheumatoid arthritis, migraines, peripheral neuropathy(non-diabetic, doctors don’t know what caused it, but she now needs a walker), possible gluten allergy, all kinds of food allergies (dating back to when she was a little girl), TIAs…and the list goes on.  
    For decades, she's been nothing more than a guinea pig to conventional doctors, who just treat the symptoms and NEVER attempt to address the cause (in my opinion leaky gut IS the root cause of all her ailments).  Anyhow, she's now on prednisone, yet again as the latest RA med seems to no longer be masking the symptoms.  
    Unfortunately, she has Medicare/Medicaid, which has prevented her from seeing an ND in Rhode Island.  I’ve managed to get her off dairy and red meat and am trying to move her to a full plant-based diet.  However, she also as diverticulitis and bean allergies (along with a long list of other foods, possibly even nightshades), which makes it extremely difficult.
    She's been in and out of the hospital and no longer has a primary as he has left the practice (not that I think he’d help anyway. Her Rheumatologist already told her he doesn’t know what else to do for her).  I am aware of the Washington D.C. Med Center that PCRM is opening in November, but I fear that her health is beginning to spiral down rapidly because of the RA and continuous prednisone prescriptions (she is now suffering from daily, consistent, fever & chills from RA.  Her joints are extremely swollen now. She’s having daily migraines, and is now on an antibiotic for her first ever UTI.).  I truly do feel that her health could drastically improve, if not reverse, with a plant-based dietary regime and cleanse/detox to start.  
    I, however, am no expert and know that she needs to do that with the guidance of a certified medical professional, who needs to have a good understanding of ALL her allergies.  
    With that said, I am looking for some guidance as she needs help ASAP! Anything you can recommend… Doctors or type MDs in the New England area? What Blood test/panels should I request the doctor perform? Treatments? ANY other suggestions or resources would be truly appreciated!  
    Thanks in advance
     ~ Katherine

  • Reply مراد الجزائري December 8, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    hi everyone ,if anyone else is searching for
    treating rheumatoid arthritis
    try Knewreck Arthritis Treatment Guide (should be on google have a look ) ? Ive heard some extraordinary things about it and my mate got amazing results with it.

  • Reply G Tron March 3, 2016 at 2:46 am

    holy crap!

  • Reply cenginator March 4, 2016 at 7:17 pm

    plants are cool.
    dead animals are also cool.
    no problem right here.

  • Reply truvelocity March 19, 2016 at 12:51 am

    My husband's cousin was diagnose with RH and he eats meat and high fat and does not eat starch and has been in remission ever since. My daughter was diagnosed with RH and she got rid of certain plant foods and eats both meat and certain plant foods and her RH symptoms went into remission.

  • Reply C Golden March 23, 2016 at 1:49 am

    In addition to dietary changes, is there a way to fight Proteus directly? Something like oil of oregano or other natural antimicrobials?

  • Reply Fliskography March 31, 2016 at 2:02 am

    What about thyroid imbalance or diseases? or that women have a reproductive system different from men. Menstruation and even hormone problems. I know this is research but i don't believe UTI is just the single issue to causing or help producing RA. Maybe everyone is unique in their chronic illness and diseases to how they started the symptoms?

  • Reply Jorgie April 5, 2016 at 5:21 am

    REQUEST: CHINESE subtitles. It could really help out some people i know who have no knowledge of English whatsoever. Some of Dr. Greger's vids have chinese subs which is really great. I hope more will come in the future. My gratitude goes out to the people who invest their time to do this.

  • Reply MyMonkeyMinions April 27, 2016 at 6:10 am

    Wow! Mind blown. I was diagnosed after I had my third c-section. After this horrible surgery I contracted a vicious uti and I felt it never went away after treatments. I wonder if that is why sometimes antibiotics treatments help some RA patients.

  • Reply ELIAKIM Joseph Sophia May 18, 2016 at 11:54 am

    Although it has been found that people with RA and Sjogren's usually have a B6 deficiency.

  • Reply Janak Chakraborty November 14, 2016 at 8:41 am

    Shall try this for a couple of months, and then switch over permanently.

  • Reply RANDOLPH TORRES January 17, 2017 at 3:19 pm


  • Reply Cody Arndt January 31, 2017 at 5:10 am

    I have had strep but not UTI. Any thoughts on my RA. I've also thought, I had two types of pneumonia when I was a baby. Curious to learn more to manage this better.

  • Reply Brighde Reed March 18, 2017 at 1:46 am

    This was very timely. I am trying to encourage my friend to give WFPB a try. She is suffering from very painful RA! 🙂 THANK YOU FOR ALL THE WORLD YOU DO!!!!!

  • Reply blueberry11051 March 31, 2017 at 7:37 pm

    Great video. Thank you so much Dr. Greger.

  • Reply Tharun Sonti April 3, 2017 at 12:45 am

    Dr.McDougall has a great vid about this too walking through the research and his experience with patients. John McDougall, MD – Inflammatory Arthritis

  • Reply last day May 20, 2017 at 12:30 am

    very interesting fascinating how the scientist where able to decipher the thing about the molecule and the mimickry

  • Reply susan brandt May 24, 2017 at 3:23 pm

    I am always fascinated by everything this doctor explains! I eat a WFPB diet now but does this type of eating also help with osteoarthritis?

  • Reply Izabel Кud May 30, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    Neck pain and disintegrating discs on my back have already been an issue for me. I have also arthritis. This arthritis treatment solution
    helps me eliminate the pain on my neck, back, and sides. This will help me do my daily work without disruptions. With help from proper diet and also prevention of inflammation-causing food, your condition will enhance a lot.

  • Reply nellievance June 27, 2017 at 1:32 am

    Omg this makes sense! I used to get chronic UTI and then accidentally discovered my vegan diet relieved my joint pain but had no idea they were connected. Amazing!

  • Reply rolom3 July 22, 2017 at 9:57 am

    I'm 21 and I've been on a WFPB diet for 9 months after 2 years on a normal vegan diet. Somehow I have developed arthritis symptoms in the past 3 months. I don't eat gluten by the way. I'm really confused and upset.

  • Reply Robert Ansiel August 24, 2017 at 7:22 pm

    I have had RA for 4 years now and am finally off all meds for 7 weeks now. Except nsaids just to bridge the gap. Just started vegan diet and wanted to know if drinking WINE is ok? Not a lot but like a glass a day. I'm 33 yrs old male and weigh about 170

  • Reply Lena Barber September 15, 2017 at 5:14 am

    This plan, “sowo hope site” (Google it), has made it easy for me to drop the extra fat faster than I ever before expected. Simply Google "sowo hope site" and read all the details.

  • Reply Abraham Petit September 16, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    Thanks Doc, I always though that RA and nutrition goes hand in hand

  • Reply Picco bow September 21, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    DR Gregor where can I get studies and data that Chemo and radiation do NOT HELP ANYONE but do more harm than good?

  • Reply Elizabeth October 3, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    Already vegan and being diagnosed with RA..

  • Reply Judy FIELDS DAVIS October 8, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    Thanks so much!

  • Reply Kathleen Padilla November 16, 2017 at 12:53 am

    My cousin introduced me on the diet plan called “sowo hope site” (Google it). This is a diet plan that extremely works. In the beginning I was a bit skeptical in 2 weeks I’ve already lost over 14 pounds. Anybody who wishes to eliminate some serious excess fat without doing harm to the body simply has to try “sowo hope site”. Google it today!

  • Reply heliotropicsquirrel December 10, 2017 at 7:20 pm

    Incredibly insightful!

  • Reply Paul Deadman January 8, 2018 at 10:10 am

    I went vegan because I was getting severe pain in my left hip ( I already had arthritis in my lower back). I was taking the max dose of Ibuprofen with the max dose of Paracetamol 4 times a day. Within 1 week of going vegan the pain in my hip had gone and I was off the medication. After 5 months of going vegan I feel great but still have some lesser pain in my lower back (it has been a long term condition). Anyone starting to get arthritis should seriously consider a vegan diet.

  • Reply Bernie Burns January 29, 2018 at 8:25 am

    What if you’re vegan and still suffer from arthritis? 🙁

  • Reply The Gel March 11, 2018 at 7:03 am

    I'm surprised you don't have more subscribers.

  • Reply Louise M-D April 4, 2018 at 1:43 am

    autoimmune is really the body attacking only sick n poisoned cells,like yeast infected cells or mucus membranes of the heart valves

  • Reply Jacqueline Smith-Jackson May 1, 2018 at 11:30 pm



    There is NO NO NO way at all that this information is true. You’ve obviously read something wrong or your getting your information off the back of a 🥣 box.


  • Reply Derek Miao June 26, 2018 at 8:43 pm

    Thank you for sharing this information; I just wish I knew it sooner.

  • Reply Carmen Torres July 1, 2018 at 11:55 pm

    After I was diagnosed with severe crippling RA 14 years ago, I became a gluten-free vegan. And I do not have any severe deformity of my joints, no pain, no stiffness or achiness…I feel great. I wake up alert and ready to go through the day, I work hard, I exercise 3 times a week, I do yoga 4 times a week and I walk every day up to 3 miles. I am very active and enjoying my days, one day at a time. Every 3 months I go into the raw diet for a month (no cooked food) to cleanse and detoxify my body of all impurities from food…I then feel renewed again and even better than I did before I went raw. If anyone is diagnosed with RA, please try to go vegan for 2 to 3 weeks only and you will see the change it does to your body, believe me, you will never go back to eating what you ate before. Always remember…live food, live body!

  • Reply Susan Holthouser July 28, 2018 at 7:46 pm

    What about psoriatic arthritis? I'm sure diet affects it too.

  • Reply Jerjay Jim November 13, 2018 at 11:26 am

    This is just awesome. I'm glad i found this. Thank you so much.

  • Reply Proverbs31 Woman November 14, 2018 at 11:55 am

    👏good info! Thanks!

  • Reply Rapa_Pham February 6, 2019 at 9:03 am

    Good Day Dr. How about patient with Gout or those with high Uric Acid.. ?
    Since Legumes ,Some Veg. (cauliflower) and Beans have a moderate amount of Purine
    Should we still recommend it to our patient?
    However beef and pork are not included in the category w/high purine nor moderate
    That's why they opt to choose to eat lean red meat

    Hope for your response 🙂 I'm a big fan of yours 🤗😉

  • Reply Junior Romo February 9, 2019 at 10:55 pm

    Does anybody know if fish can make it worse? I been eating fruits and juicing I get better sometimes but someday I still have a good amount of inflammation. I eat fish 3 times a week and it’s cooked in virgin oil.

  • Reply lloyd909988 March 1, 2019 at 1:35 pm

    I had the exact same response going to a low carb Keto diet with lots of meat and saturated fats. I feel great on this diet.

  • Reply Naomi May - Sustainable Prepper May 2, 2019 at 8:53 pm

    OMG! I have RA and I used to get a whole lot of urinary tract infections. I am plant based now and am not getting the infections anymore.

  • Reply Mrs. Roper June 2, 2019 at 6:45 pm

    the only thing that helps my arthritis is getting non-humid weather.

  • Reply John Smithy July 10, 2019 at 12:55 am

    It sounds like the problem could be alleviated another way – by preventing the spread of the offending organism, Proteus mirabilis, from the anus to the urethra . So showering after bm may be enough.

  • Reply Philip Brown August 24, 2019 at 1:12 am

    its fascinating to me how most people will not heed this science

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