Study Examines Connection Between Diet and Lupus Progression
A high-fat diet may accelerate the development of lupus, worsen lupus symptoms and increase markers of autoimmune disease in lupus-prone mice, according to new research.
A combination of genetic and environmental factors are thought to impact lupus risk and disease severity, and the role that diet may play in disease progression remains unclear.
In the study, researchers defined a high-fat diet as 60% of daily calories coming from fat and a regular diet as 10% of daily calories comprised of fat. Thirty male and thirty female lupus-prone mice were fed either a regular or high-fat diet for 14 weeks. Disease activity and other metrics were observed between the two groups. The researchers found that lupus-prone mice on a high-fat diet had faster progression and more severe disease.
Notably, skin lesions were observed in more than half (55.6%) of the mice who consumed more fat, whereas skin lesions occurred in 11.1% of mice on the regular diet. And though both males and females in the high-fat group showed some signs of accelerated and more severe disease activity, the male mice had higher blood levels of a few key biomarkers related to inflammation than the females. They also had worse kidney involvement. These findings corroborate previous evidence suggesting that males are more likely to have more severe lupus symptoms, while females tend to have a broader range of symptoms.
More research is needed to understand how and why diet may affect lupus outcomes. Though there is no “lupus diet,” eating a nutritious, balanced diet is one important aspect of living well with lupus. Learn more about eating healthy when you have lupus.
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