In a study completed in March of 2007, Dr. Benito-Garcia et al at John Hopkins were unable to find a link between the risk of dietary protein intake and iron consumption on incident rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The results for this study were published in the June 2007 issue ofArthritis Research & Therapy.

Recent investigations have implicated increased consumption of red meat as a risk factor for incident inflammatory arthritis. This concern spurred Benito-Garcia to investigate the supposed link further.

In this study, subjects participating in the NursesÕ Health Study, a geographically diverse cohort study of 121,700 female nurses begun in 1976, had regular assessments of diet using the Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ), a self-reported inventory of the types and amounts of typical dietary intake. Those without RA at the onset of the study were followed longitudinally to assess the putative effect of dietary intake of proteins, from both animal and vegetable sources, and iron, dietary and otherwise, on the risk of developing RA.

Data from 79,193 women were included with a mean age of 56 years. In analyses adjusted only for age, higher protein intake was associated with RA risk; however, the risk was not significant when adjusting for established or potential risk factors for incident RA (e.g. body measurement index, smoking, and total lifetime of breastfeeding history). In addition, no significant increased RA risk was found for high consumers of total meat, red meat, poultry, fish, or dietary or supplemental iron compared to low consumers in both the age-adjusted and the fully adjusted multivariable models.

Article References
No Definite Link between Dietary Protein Intake and Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk, site accessed on 7/1/2007