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Low Testosterone Linked to Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk

Posted Apr 26 2013 10:08pm
Posted on April 24, 2013, 6 a.m. in Men's Health Arthritis Testosterone

In that rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is less common among men than women, sex hormones have been suggested to play a part in the pathogenesis. Lower levels of testosterone have been demonstrated in men with RA, and it is thought that proinflammatory cytokines suppress the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis to result in low testosterone levels as a consequence of RA-associated inflammation.  Mitra Pikwer, from Lund University (Sweden), and colleagues reviewed data from the Malmo (Sweden) Preventive Medicine Program, which involved 22,444 men born in Malmo from 1921 to 1949 and 10,902 women born from 1925 to 1938.  The median time from program screening to RA diagnosis was 12.7 years.  The team observed that the RA group had a lower body mass index (BMI) at enrollment, and that BMI was negatively correlated with testosterone and free testosterone levels, but not with other hormones. Low testosterone raised the odds for subsequent diagnosis of rheumatoid factor (RF)-negative RA by 69% as compared with men who had normal values. Men who developed RF-negative RA also had significantly higher levels of follicle-stimulating hormone prior to diagnosis. The study authors conclude that: “Lower levels of testosterone were predictive of RF-negative [rheumatoid arthritis], suggesting that hormonal changes precede the onset of [rheumatoid arthritis] and affect the disease phenotype.”

Pikwer M, Giwercman A, Bergström U, Nilsson JA, Jacobsson LT, Turesson C.  “Association between testosterone levels and risk of future rheumatoid arthritis in men: a population-based case-control study.”  Ann Rheum Dis. 2013 Apr 3.

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Tip #153 - Fit with Fiber
Soluble fiber is found in foods such as oat/oat bran, dried beans and peas, nuts, barley, flax seed, fruits such as oranges and apples, vegetables such as carrots, and psyllium husk. It binds with fatty acids and prolongs stomach emptying time so that sugar is released and absorbed more slowly. Researchers from Hospital Universitari de Sant Joan (Spain) randomly assigned 200 overweight or obese study subjects to receive a daily soluble fiber supplement (comprised of Plantago ovata husk and glucomannan) two or three times a day, or placebo, for 16 weeks. At the end of the study, weight loss was higher in both fiber groups (4.52 and 4.60 kg lost, respectively), compared to the placebo group (0.79 kg weight loss). Additionally, LDL (low-density, “bad”) cholesterol levels decreased by 0.38 and 0.24 mmol/l in the fiber-supplemented groups, and the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL (high-density, “good")-cholesterol, and HDL to LDL, were also improved.

The recommended intake of fiber is 25 grams per day. To meet this, eat at least 5 servings of fruits & vegetables as well as at least 6 servings of grain products per day (at least 3 of which are whole grains). Your waistline, as well as cardiovascular health, will both benefit.

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