Aspirin and other NSAIDs taken for arthritis disrupt the integrity of the gastrointestinal mucosa and may increase the ability of food allergens to cross into the bloodstream. This may increase the risk of food sensitivities that can exacerbate joint symptoms. The most commonly implicated foods belong to the nightshade family - potato, tomato, eggplant, and peppers. Overweight places a greater load on joints and can contribute to osteoarthritis in the hips, back, and knees. Fruits and vegetables are good sources of vitamins C and E; high intake of these antioxi-dant nutrients is associated with lower risk of osteoarthritis (see Fig. 5.13).1
Fig. 5.13: Vitamin C intake, serum 25-OH vitamin D, and progression of osteoarthritis (OA). In a study in 640 adults for 7-10 years, the upper tertiles of vitamin C intake and serum 25-OH vitamin D were associated with a two to three fold reduced risk of cartilage loss, pain, and disease progression in osteoarthritis of the knee, compared with the lower tertiles. Average upper and lowertertilesforvitamin C intake were 430 mg/dayand 81 mg/day. (Adapted from McAlindon TE, et al. Arthritis Rheum. 1996;39:648, and McAlindon TE, et al. Ann Intern Med. 1996;125:353)
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