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JOURNAL: American Journal of Epidemiology 2003;157:345-354
AUTHORS: Dr. James Cerhan
ABSTRACT: Zinc and an antioxidant found in citrus fruit may lower the risk for rheumatoid arthritis.
COMMENTARY: The researchers looked at nearly 30,000 women from the Iowa Women's Health Study. All had answered a food questionnaire in 1986 that assessed how much and how often they ate certain foods as well as their vitamin and supplement intake.
Years later, there were 158 cases of rheumatoid arthritis among the women. The diets of those women were compared with those of study participants who remained free of the illness.
The doctors found that women getting less than 40 micrograms of beta-cryptoxanthin, which is found in citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit, were at a slightly higher risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis than women who consumed more than that amount.
When they looked at the amount of zinc in each woman's diet, they found that those who took zinc supplements had a lower risk of rheumatoid arthritis. But getting an equivalent amount of zinc from food was not associated with decreased risk.
The message to the general consumer, is here's another reason to eat your fruits and vegetables.
Not only can they protect you from chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease, but now they may also prevent rheumatoid arthritis.