Monday, April 23, 2012

The Moisture Seekers Newsletter: Should Sjoggies be Vegans?

You can buy your very own vegetable book here

The April edition of The Moisture Seekers published by the Sjogren's Syndrome Foundation is, as all it's issues are, extremely interesting. This edition is entitled, "The Questions You Asked and the Answers You Need". It's packed with frequently asked questions about living with Sjogren's syndrome and answers to those questions from various healthcare professionals.

You can get your very own subscription to The Moisture Seekers by becoming a member of the Sjogren's Syndrome Foundation. It's online, it's easy, and the Foundation provides a wealth of information and resources for it's members. Your membership fees contribute not only to the publication of The Moisture Seekers, but also towards supporting invaluable research of this and other autoimmune diseases.

The question in this issue that really grabbed by attention was this: Is a Vegan Diet beneficial for people with Sjogren's? I have posted excerpts from the article here, but go to the SSF site to read it in it's entirety:

An Answer from a nutritionist.......Tara A. Mardigan, MS, MPH, RD

"A vegan diet excludes any animal products. A raw diet limits cooking foods over 116 degrees. You may be wondering if this is the diet prescription to help you. Should you eliminate animal products? Do you have to avoid cooking your food to reap the optimal nutrition value?
     Not necessarily. Each person suffering from Sjogren's syndrome (or any medical condition) should learn to individualize their treatment plan, including diet modifications. Learning to incorporate foods that are well tolerated and minimize foods that exacerbate symptoms of Sjogren's is the overall nutrition goal.
     ......We are in the preliminary stages of learning if animal proteins are harmful to those with autoimmune conditions. It appears that large portions of animal protein such as red meat and dairy and little intake of plant-based food is the real problem and can influence your condition in a negative way.
     .......A simple shift towards a more plant-based diet with less reliant on meat and dairy is likely sound advice for those with Sjogren's syndrome. The diet does not need to be exclusively vegan or raw to be healthful.....

An Answer from a rheumatologist......Nancy Carterton, MD, FACR

".....As a physician who sees a large number of Sjogren's and other autoimmune disease patients, I have some concern that a strict Vegan diet may not be as anti-inflammatory or anti-oxidant as current data suggests is beneficial for autoimmunity and cancer. Foods such as cold-water fish (salmon) would be excluded, which is high in the anti-oxidant/anti-inflammatory Omega - 3 essential fatty acids. For those who choose a Vegan diet, microalgae oil (instead of salmon), calcium-fortified foods (in place of dairy), Vitamin D, B12, and Iron are needed for a balanced diet......

....Six Dietary Recommendations for Autoimmune Disease:

- Avoid animal fat, except for oily fish.
- Favor  predominantly vegetarian diet.
- Consume whole grains, fruits, and vegetables that are rich in vitamins E and C, especially bright-colored ones, such as broccoli, red and green sweet peppers, and spinach.
- When adding oils to foods, use canola, soy, saflower, sunflower, and olive oils.
- Take a well-balanced all-inclusive vitamin and mineral supplement that includes 100 percent of the RDA for each of the vitamins and minerals.
- If advised by your physician look for an antioxidant supplement containing vitamins E and C, carotenoids, and selenium; a bone-strenthing supplement containing calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D; an omega - 3 fatty acids supplement containing EPA, DHA, and vitamin E; and a B-vitamin supplement that is particularly rich in vitamin B6, folic acid and vitamin B12.


Gill from the other side of the Big Pond said...

I have followed a lacto vegetarian diet for over 40 years, i eat a lot of things on the list yet I was diagnosed with Sjogrens last year, symptoms have been manifesting themselves probably for years but have blamed other things. I feel very high constant levels of stress are the cause in my case. I would be very interested to know if anyone can point to a trigger event/s, I think I my suspicions vere towards this.Certainly problems with my palms and soles flare after stressfull events. I do think that a vegetarian diet helps, my opinion is that it masked the symptoms and still does, it isn't a preventative. I think I am more active than many with Sjogrens or i am just lucky - so far... I would be very interested in other people's experiences.

cargillwitch said...

I have been a vegetarian for 27 years myself- vegan for about 6 of those years. I do think I have probably had a slower onset of the disease and am still very physically active( seems to help me with fatigue and stiffness). It certainly didn't protect me from developing sjogrens and raynauds but I feel it has helped the
over all picture - kept my weight, blood pressure and cardiovascular health stable.Probably anyone following a standard western diet ( white flour, poor quality fats, sugar, factory farmed meats)would benefit
from substituting foods they are consuming with more fresh fruits, vegetables and pulses - regardless of their current health status!