Why should you try the Carnivore Diet for rheumatoid arthritis? The Carnivore Diet is the ultimate elimination diet. It reduces inflammation by removing all foods and substances that could be inflammatory, as well as providing ample key nutrients that have been shown to reduce or manage rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.
Carnivore Diet for Rheumatoid Arthritis
The 3 top reasons you should try the Carnivore Diet for rheumatoid arthritis are:
- It reduces inflammation
- Heals the gut
- Provides key nutrients required for symptom relief and management
- Bonus reason – read through to the end!!
Autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, are on the rise. There are an increasing number of testimonials of people using the Carnivore Diet for their rheumatoid arthritis and being successful at finding relief from their symptoms.
Ready to find out more about why you might want to try the Carnivore Diet for rheumatoid arthritis? Be sure to read through to find bonus reason #4 at the end, plus testimonials.
1. The Carnivore Diet Reduces Inflammation
Given that RA is characterized as an inflammatory disease, and it’s the inflammation that causes most of the problems, anything to reduce inflammation is going to be beneficial.
The Carnivore Diet reduces overall inflammation in the body by removing every single inflammatory food you could possibly consume. Every. Single. Inflammatory. Food. There is no sugar or vegetable oils. There are no chemicals, dyes, preservatives or pesticides. There are no plant anti-nutrients. There is no fiber. In fact, this 2022 study found that “a high-fiber diet exacerbated arthritis via microbial alterations and intestinal inflammation”.
In fact, by removing all these foods, the Carnivore Diet is incredibly anti-inflammatory. Though marketing and anti-meat messaging might try to tell you that meat causes inflammation, this study concludes that there was no association between red meat consumption and RA. Despite decades of marketing, perhaps red meat is not as inflammatory as we are being told.
A couple of studies (here and here) have shown that there is a strong correlation between lectins and RA. This is due to lectin-containing foods creating high levels of inflammation in the body. In fact, a small portion of the population could in fact hold a key in their DNA. There is a particular marker in the genome that is ultra-sensitive to lectins and one of the most well-known Carnivores who healed (or at least manages) their decades-long battle with RA has this marker.
Oxalates cause increased inflammation (source) and has been linked to rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases. Oxalates can cause a build up of oxalate crystals which can embed in the joints causing increased pain and inflammation. Oxalates are found in several “healthy” foods, such as spinach and almonds.
Another highly inflammatory item in our current food environment is gluten. Gluten is a protein found in several different grains and can cause varying levels of chronic inflammation. This study discusses how in fact, an RA diagnosis could be potentially be celiac disease.
There are a myriad of chemicals and preservatives in our diet, and these only increase with the more variety of “foods” we eat. From BPA, preservatives, dyes, and flavorings in canned and processed products to excessive mercury in fish, and pesticides covering fruit and vegetables, almost everything in our food system contains something that probably shouldn’t be going into our body.
2. Carnivore Diet Heals The Gut
By removing all the inflammatory foods, and reducing overall inflammation, the body can work to heal the gut. It does this in a couple of ways: 1. By eliminating any fiber from the diet, which allows your gut to rest, and 2. Increases the nutrient density of your food. This creates a very positive feedback loop whereby increased nutrient density leads to healing. Healing leads to better absorbed nutrition (vitamins and minerals), leading to more healing.
A combination of various factors can work individually or synergistically to create a syndrome called Leaky Gut. In a nutshell, leaky gut means intestinal permeability. This is when the gut lining is not keeping everything contained in the gut as it should. This permeability may be letting toxins into your bloodstream causing inflammation.
More evidence these days is pointing to the health of the microbiome being a vital component of our overall health and well-being. Leaky gut can lead to many different auto-immune diseases and most auto-immune protocols work to heal the gut first.
It therefore begs the question, are these auto-immune diseases actually separate diseases? Or are they all leaky gut syndrome, manifesting with different symptoms in different individuals due to different environmental and genetic factors? I’m not a doctor or medical professional, this is just a hypothetical food for thought kind of question.
There are several auto-immune protocols out there now, including AutoImmune Paleo (AIP), FODMAPs, Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) amongst others. The core premise of all these programs is to heal the gut first. They all have different diet protocols, and different restrictions. But it’s what they have in common that’s actually quite interesting. All these protocols restrict and/or remove various fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy etc. But they all include meat. So they must all agree that meat is beneficial for the gut. So the Carnivore Diet really, is the ultimate autoimmune protocol.
3. The Carnivore Diet provides key nutrients required for symptom relief and management
Despite not knowing the exact cause of RA, there are certain recommendations that suggest some foods may assist with symptom management. The Carnivore Diet has these vitamins and minerals in abundance and in a much more easily absorbed form.
DHA and Omega-3
This is probably the most common recommendation. The benefits of fatty fish, and the fatty acids, are well documented. It’s the fatty acids that can help joint pain by reducing inflammation. This study found that participants with greater consumption of fish and seafood were less likely to have RA and this study concludes that Omega-3’s may decrease disease activity in RA.
Sources of DHA and Omega-3 include: Mackerel, Salmon, Herring, Oysters, Sardines and Cavier (if you’re feeling fancy)
Vitamin D is important for a healthy immune system and reduced inflammation amongst other responsibilities. 24% of Americans are deficient in Vitamin D with 5.9% being severely deficient, and in fact you’re more likely to be deficient in vitamin D if you have RA. Some research shows that people with the lowest vitamin D levels have the most serious symptoms and the worst response to treatment.
Vitamin D3 is a fat-soluble vitamin (meaning you don’t absorb any of the added Vitamin D in skim milk) that comes from animal foods, and is more bioavailable than Vitamin D2 (from plant foods). Sources of Vitamin D3 include per 100g serving: salmon (11mg/ 55% DV) egg yolks, butterfat (14mg/ 70% DV), shellfish, fish liver oils, as well as sun exposure.
K2 is important for bone health, and prevents calcium deposits in both blood vessels and cartilage.
This study concludes that Vitamin K2 “may represent a new agent for the the treatment of RA“, while this study concludes that Vitamin K2 “may have the potential to improve disease activity in RA“. Both studies discuss how K2 induces apoptosis of RA cells. Of course, the conclusion is leading to supplementation, but there are many dietary sources of K2 including egg yolks, high-fat dairy products, and dark chicken meat (per 100g serving 23.7mg/ 19.8% DV including chicken skin).
It is estimated that 17.3% of the global population may have zinc deficiency, while in the US, about 12% of the population is likely at risk. According to Oregon State University “zinc is essential to helping DNA repair – meaning that in the face of zinc deficiency, the body’s ability to repair genetic damage may be decreasing” Zinc levels are significantly lower in people with RA. Zinc may help RA symptoms by supporting healthy cartilage growth and proper immune response.
As with all vitamins and minerals, zinc is better absorbed from animal products, and sources per 100g serving include oysters (16.62mg/ 151.1% DV) and other shellfish, red meat (7.8mg/ 70.9% DV), chicken, turkey
4. Bonus: Carnivore Diet is natural, versus medication
Most doctor recommendations for RA will include some form of medication, including methotrexate and even chemotherapy for severe RA. These are serious therapies with the potential for serious side effects and you should carefully weigh the risks vs the benefits of these (as you should with any medication or medical treatment).
The unfortunate truth for these therapies is that they generally will only manage your symptoms as is and keep your health at the current baseline, they won’t necessarily improve it. The Carnivore Diet as a therapy also has the potential to manage your symptoms (we won’t say cure, though many testimonials will) with much less risky side effects. Using diet and nutrition as a therapy can also be a lot more cost-effective than medications.
The Lion Diet
In its strictest and purest form, the menu is limited to red meat, salt and water. This is commonly referred to as the Lion Diet, which is the diet that Mikhaila Peterson promotes (in fact I believe she came up with the name). This beef (or lamb) and water only approach is what assisted her to heal her nearly lifelong battle with debilitating RA.
Though you don’t have to be as strict, it might be beneficial for a 30 or 60 day period to try, particularly if you are dealing with severe rheumatoid arthritis. Even just a strict carnivore diet as opposed to the Lion Diet (any type of meat, salt and water) could have an incredible impact on both your symptoms and overall health. A reminder that this is not medical advice, and I am not a medical professional, but in my personal opinion, I would think it worthwhile to trial dietary changes before committing to a lifetime of pharmaceutical drugs.
What to expect: how long will it take to see benefits?
Reviewing various testimonials from people who have greatly improved their rheumatoid arthritis (testimonials at the bottom of the page) it seems common for symptom relief to occur within a matter of weeks. Symptom relief seems to improve the longer one remains on the diet.
After a baseline of 30-60 days, if you’d like to reintroduce non-carnivore foods into your diet, it is strongly recommended to reintroduce foods one at a time over a period of 4 days. This will allow you to document and fully realize the impact of certain foods and what your personal sensitivities and triggers are.
Carnivore Diet for Rheumatoid Arthritis Success Stories
The below testimonials are so heartbreaking and inspiring at the same time. People have suffered entire lifetimes of pain and illness and managed it (barely) with medications, cascading into all their various side effects. Within mere months, decades of pain seems to disappear all by following a seemingly “unhealthy” diet. Read these stories below, and perhaps, the Carnivore Diet may be the solution you have been looking for.
Mark personally classifies his rheumatoid arthritis 100% in remission after 4 months on the Carnivore Diet. His pain and inflammation is totally gone. He had previously “managed” his RA with a ketogenic diet, but still had flare-ups and it was slowly getting worse. The Carnivore Diet was the next level from the ketogenic diet that enabled him to thrive.
Leandro had rheumatoid arthritis for 20 years with severe pain and started taking medical treatment. The pills were just managing pain, while giving him side effects including love handles and brain-fog. When the doctors office ran out of the pills for his prescription, he stumbled across the Carnivore Diet. Within a month, he was back at the gym, and 3 years later he still does not have any pain.
This reddit user has suffered RA for 20 years, and within days all their pain and inflammation subsided.
Sontina struggled with pain and inflammation all over her body for years. It began with a diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis which she poorly managed with a plant based diet. She also struggled with digestive disorders that required daily use of fiber and laxatives. Two years of a vegan diet just took things from bad to worse. When she finally went carnivore, the pain and inflammation from the arthritis and her gut finally calmed enough for her to live pain free. She’s seen numerous other benefits to carnivore like hair regrowth, cystic acne reversal, and an end to cravings
Mikhaila Peterson, daughter of Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson, was diagnosed with juvenile RA at the age of 7 and suffered until she was 23 when she decided to eat an all red-meat diet, which she has termed the Lion Diet.
This article has discussed the top reasons why a Carnivore Diet might be beneficial to try if you have rheumatoid arthritis. Though diet and nutrition cannot be considered a cure-all for every disease, it is an important part of maintaining overall health. We cannot achieve proper health without proper nutrition.
Do you have rheumatoid arthritis and are thinking about starting the Carnivore Diet? You can read more here on how to get started.
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