Can Fiber Help Fight Arthritis?

A new study looked at how a fiber-rich diet impacts bone and joint health. The researchers discovered that eating more fiber may help prevent rheumatoid arthritis and build stronger bones.

Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) found that eating a fiber-rich diet protected mice from rheumatoid arthritis and postmenopausal bone loss. What’s interesting about their findings is how eating fiber is supporting healthy bones. It’s not the fiber itself but the way dietary fiber acts in the gut that has the protective effect.

When our gut bacteria breaks down dietary fiber, it creates something called short-chain fatty acids. There is already quite a bit of research showing that short-chain fatty acids protect our health, and now you can add bone health to the list of benefits.

The researchers discovered that a fiber-rich diet can actually change the composition of your gut bacteria and help your body produce more of the short-chain fatty acids that protect our bones. They found that two of these fatty acids in particular - propionate and butyrate – support bone health.

Lead researcher Dr. Mario Zaiss said in an FAU press release, “We were able to show that a bacteria-friendly diet has an anti-inflammatory effect, as well as a positive effect on bone density.” When Dr. Zaiss says “bacteria-friendly,” he means fiber-rich.

Of course, this is an animal study, so more research is needed to see how this works on human gut bacteria. The results still have some neat implications when it comes to treating rheumatoid arthritis and postmenopausal bone loss, however. Dr. Zaiss explains that it’s too soon to make specific recommendations but that these findings could lead to new treatments for rheumatoid arthritis, other inflammatory joint diseases and osteoporosis.

The good news is that we don’t have to wait for more research to take these findings to heart. We already know that eating a diet rich in fiber from whole grains, fruits and vegetables is good for our health in so many ways. It can’t hurt, and your bones may just thank you.

Need some help getting more fiber into your diet? Try these helpful tips on how to eat more fiber at every meal and check out this list of high-fiber foods.

Related at Care2

A new study looked at how a fiber-rich diet impacts bone and joint health. The researchers discovered that eating more fiber may help prevent rheumatoid arthritis and build stronger bones.

Images via Thinkstock.

78 comments

Paulo R
Paulo R15 days ago

ty

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Paulo R
Paulo R15 days ago

ty

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John B
John B21 days ago

Thanks Becky for sharing the info and links..

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Jerome S
Jerome S23 days ago

thanks

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Jerome S
Jerome S23 days ago

thanks

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Jim V
Jim V23 days ago

thanks for sharing

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Jim V
Jim V23 days ago

thanks for sharing

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Chad A
Chad A27 days ago

Thank you!

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Kate G
Kate G27 days ago

interesting

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Stephanie s
Stephanie s29 days ago

Thank you

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