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Increased Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis by eating Red Meat

December 17th, 2005

Increased Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis by eating Red Meat

red meat higher risk

A study conducted by British researchers found that high levels of red meat in a person’s diet may increase the risk of developing inflammatory arthritis. 

A team of British researchers found that dietary habits were part of the cause of the onset of rheumatoid arthritis, along with genetics.  Lifestyle choices can account for about 40% of the risk.  Cigarette smoking has also been a contributor in developing rheumatoid arthritis.  Nutritional factors are still not clear, but some studies have shown that eating fish is beneficial, drinking coffee is bad, and drinking in moderation for women is good.

The researchers found vitamin C from not eating fruit also increased the risk of inflammatory arthritis.  This lack of vitamin C increase risk as much as 3 x’s.  The study was first published in Arthritis & Rheumatism Journal, back in December 2004.  The interesting finding was that the researchers also discovered that eating a high level of red meat also increased the risk for inflammatory arthritis.


The University of Manchester, with lead researchers, Alan Silman and Deborah Symmons, started with a combination of 25,000 men and women ages 45 through 75.  Within this sample there were 88 patients that were newly diagnosed with inflammatory arthritis of more than 2 joints.  Also there was approximately 40 percent that were considered by the American college of Rheumatology for rheumatoid arthritis baseline.  Each participant took extreme care in keeping a 7 day food diary that included measuring food portions to report more accurately amount of food that was eaten, as well as what was eaten.  They also answered whether or not they were smokers 

The lack vitamin C intake was not as significant in this study, but what they found was the ones who ate the highest amount of red meat had a 2 x’s higher risk for developing rheumatoid arthritis.  Those patients that consumed high levels of red meat with other meat products had the similar showings.  The dietary fats did not seem to have an increase in risk.


Because there is a genetic factor to rheumatoid arthritis, it may not cause everyone the same risk for developing the inflammatory disease.  “It may be that the high collagen content of meat leads to collagen sensitization and consequent production of anticollagen antibodies, most likely in a subgroup of susceptible individuals,” the authors for the studies say. “Meat consumption may be linked to either additives or even infectious agents, but, again, there is no evidence as to what might be important in relation to RA.”

“A high level of red meat consumption may represent a novel risk factor for inflammatory arthritis or may act as a marker for a group of persons with an increased risk from other lifestyle causes,” Dr. Pattison and colleagues report. “It is unclear whether the association is a causative one.”

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By Nicole Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer

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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:46 PM