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Johns Hopkins Health - RA Diet Details

Fall 2013
Issue No. 22

RA Diet Details

Date: October 15, 2013

ra diet

Carrying extra weight is hard on your joints, and the issue is more complex for people who have rheumatoid arthritis (RA). But even people with RA who are at a healthy weight need to be diligent about their nutrition, as some medications deplete the body’s valuable nutrients.

“The medication that is the greatest culprit is prednisone,” says Rebecca Manno, M.D., a rheumatologist at Johns Hopkins. “It causes patients to lose lean mass and gain fat mass.”

People who have RA should concentrate on building lean muscle, Manno says. They can do this by following a healthy diet including plenty of fruits and vegetables and lean protein (such as black beans, salmon and white meat chicken).

“We’re also keeping an eye on bone health and vitamin D deficiency,” she says. “We can treat that with supplements, if necessary.” Always discuss the use of supplements with your doctor.

Johns Hopkins currently has an exercise study underway. Visit for details, including eligibility and how to sign up.

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