Dietary Therapy for Ankylosing Spondylitis

When people get sick, the cause is usually their genes or something in the environment or some combination of the two. For many of our common autoimmune diseases, the cause is probably a combination of genes and diet.

In 2001, a German medical journal published a case study of a patient who had a double dose of the gene that increases people’s risk of getting ankylosing spondylitis, a form of inflammatory arthritis that attacks the spine. He’d been sick for about 10 years and had gotten little relief from all the drugs and other treatments he’d tried. Nevertheless, he started feeling dramatically better within a matter of days after starting a purely plant-based diet. When he went back to eating meat again several weeks later, his symptoms flared up again. When he went back to eating a purely plant-based diet, his condition improved so much that he was able to stop taking most of his medication.

Yes, I know that this is just a case study, but its results are consistent with the results of other kinds of clinical studies and they make sense in terms of the biology. In that context, a case study like this, which shows that a simple and generally beneficial intervention can produce such dramatic improvements, should inspire someone to do a large, well-designed clinical trials. Sadly, when I went to to see what kind of research was being done on ankylosing spondylitis, I found lots and lots of drug studies but no dietary studies. How can researchers justify giving people powerful and dangerous drugs before finding out whether the problem can be solved in a matter of days with a simple change in diet?

Photo by planetc1