Protein is essential for the body’s overall function. It is found in muscle, bone, skin, hair, and virtually every other body part or tissue. It makes up the enzymes that power many chemical reactions and the hemoglobin that carries oxygen in blood.
Protein is built from building blocks called amino acids. Our bodies make amino acids in two different ways: Either from scratch, or by modifying others. A few amino acids (known as the essential amino acids) must come from food.
Protein from animal sources like meat, dairy etc., has often been identified as the culprit that triggers inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis and other related conditions. Studies have also linked consumption of high protein and high fat diets to higher rates of rheumatoid arthritis.
When we eat a diet rich in animal protein, our ability to efficiently cleave all the amino acid bonds may be limited. All the protein may not be totally broken down into its amino acid building blocks. There is evidence that when animal peptides (pieces of partially broken-down proteins) are absorbed, they can lead to the formation of antibodies against themselves. Our immune system will not only attack these foreign proteins, but it can also cross-react, attacking human proteins in the body that resemble the amino acid sequences found on dietary animal proteins. Thus, because animal proteins closely resemble the amino acid sequences of human body proteins, our own reaction (antibodies) against inadequately broken down proteins (peptides) can also attack our own tissues, resulting in various types of arthritis.
People who eat large amounts of animal protein are more prone to not digest the protein properly. Large protein molecules can then enter the bloodstream and trigger inflammatory reactions in the body. Because we cannot efficiently dissolve animal proteins in the digestive tract and, frequently, consumption exceeds the digestive capacity, more incompletely digested peptides are apt to be absorbed. These peptides also results in the stimulation of unhealthy bacterial flora and the absorption of toxic bacterial by-products, which can create an inflammatory environment and, hence, immune dysfunction.
On the contrary, plant proteins are less likely to cause this reaction, even if their peptides pass into the bloodstream, as they bear little resemblance to human proteins. When patients with rheumatoid arthritis adopt a diet that is lower in animal protein and higher in vegetable protein, they typically feel better. And in addition to removing these illness inducing substances, plant life is abundant in antioxidants and phytochemicals that reduce inflammation, support the autoimmune system, and fight disease.
This web site is run by an Arthritis Specialist based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. On this site you will find news about the latest in arthritis, information about research results in the field, tips and information and diet and exercise, and much more.More
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