I am absolutely convinced that my rheumatoid arthritis is caused by diet. Before starting alternate day fasting, I was already doing my best to eat a diet free from gluten, casein, and soy. Those three are the biggest triggers of symptoms for me.
Eliminating those allergens led to a substantial decrease in pain. I had been taking naprosyn (generic Alleve), and I switched to Tylenol when I eliminated gluten, casein and soy. But with intermittent fasting, I am taking no pain medication whatsoever. And the amazing part is, I stopped taking the medicine after just one day of fasting!
As I wrote about yesterday, asthmatics get relief from a less severe form of IF, and asthma is another disease related to inflammation. Others on IF have reported less pain and suffering from a variety of inflammation related conditions. So I guess it's no surprise that I would have this result, but it's still a surprise to me. I "hoped" it would get better, but I was pretty skeptical. So unless this is simply a placebo effect, and I start hurting again a month from now, I'm a believer.
None of this is to imply that I am "cured" or that I am totally without symptoms. I do still have some discomfort from time to time, but it's a 1 on a scale 1 to 10. Previously, without medicine, I would have been a 6 or 7. I do have some disfiguration in my right index finger, and that's not going to correct--the damage is done. But if I can keep the rest of my joints from being similarly afflicted, I will have accomplished a significant feat.
For the time being, I am still taking some medicine, though. I take the antibiotic minocycline (100 mg 2x per day). This has been shown to help those with RA, and it seems to help me. (This is a controversial claim amongst rheumatologists, and yours may not agree to prescribe it, though it is about as benign as a prescription medicine can be. There are several books on the subject. For more information, go to http://www.roadback.org/.) I would love to be able to stop taking it, but honestly, I'm afraid. I decided to stop taking it about 2 years ago, and within 6 months my index finger joint started being effected. I don't know if it was coincidence or cause and effect, but I really don't want to find out.
For sake of completeness, and so anyone else suffering with RA might benefit, I also take krill oil, which helps as well. I get it from Dr. Mercola's site http://products.mercola.com/krill/, but you can find it at health food stores as well. It's similar to fish oil, but it works better, and it doesn't give you those gross fish burps. I take 6 pills per day, which is 6,000 mg.
The rest of my supplemenation regimen consists of a once per day multi vitamin, Simply One for Men by Super Nutrition. I get it at Whole Foods Market; a calcium supplement, Country Life Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc, 3 per day; and a probiotic, Country Life Power-Dophilus, 1 with each meal.
I do not take the supplements while I'm fasting. I take them with food. Since I eat every calendar day, I'm able to make it work.
I do take the minocycline while I'm fasting. It actually works best on an empty stomach, and it's so little, I don't expect it to hurt my fasting results enough to notice.
But I have been taking the supplements and the medicine for a long time. That alone is not enough. I want to repeat how amazed I am that within one day I felt good enough to stop taking pain medication. I'm fasting now and typing this, and I feel no pain in my hands (my hands and wrists is where 98% of my pain is locted). The way I see it, this is a cheap and easy way to get a significant reduction in pain. I do feel its important for me to stay away from gluten, casein and soy, though I have toyed with the idea of testing it now that I've gotten such good results from IF.
The bottom line is, intermittent fasting combined with a gluten, casein, and soy free diet seems to be a powerful combination.