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The Diet-Gut-Polymyalgia Connection : How Nutrition and Microbiota Influence PMR

The Intersection of Diet, Gut Microbiota, and Polymyalgia Rheumatica

Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR) remains one of the medical community’s enigmatic subjects, especially when looking at its relationship with diet and gut health. Although the connection between diet and autoimmune conditions is relatively well-established, a more in-depth exploration of the impact of nutrition and gut microbiota on PMR is pending. In this article, we will delve into this intersection, aiming to shed light on possible dietary triggers, therapeutic diets, and how nutrition might work in tandem with medical treatments for PMR. 


Many autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, have shown potential links between symptom exacerbation and certain foods or dietary patterns. The theory is that specific diets can either exacerbate or alleviate inflammatory responses. Given PMR’s inflammatory nature, it is rational to consider a similar influence of diet on this condition. 

Overview of Diet’s Impact on Other Autoimmune Conditions

In diseases like multiple sclerosis or inflammatory bowel disease, certain dietary components, including gluten or dairy, have been implicated as triggers. On the flip side, the Mediterranean diet, rich in anti-inflammatory foods like fish, nuts, and olive oil, has been beneficial in managing some autoimmune disorders. The main premise is that diet can either help in suppressing or enhancing the immune system’s overactive response. 

Role of the Gut Microbiome in Modulating Inflammation

The gut is home to trillions of bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms collectively called the microbiota. A balanced gut microbiome plays a pivotal role in maintaining our health. Recent research has shown that an imbalanced gut microbiota, termed dysbiosis, is linked to heightened inflammatory responses. The gut and immune system have a bidirectional relationship; the gut influences immune responses, and vice versa. Thus, an imbalanced gut can potentially exacerbate autoimmune responses. 

Potential Dietary Triggers for Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR) Flare-ups 

While direct research on PMR and dietary triggers is sparse, looking at similar autoimmune conditions might provide insights. Common inflammatory foods, including processed foods, refined sugars, and excessive dairy, could potentially lead to PMR symptom flare-ups. Additionally, alcohol and certain additives and preservatives could also play a role. It’s crucial to understand that individual responses can vary, and what acts as a trigger for one person might be benign for another. 

Possibility of a Therapeutic Diet to Alleviate Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR) Symptoms

Considering the influence of diet on inflammation, it’s plausible that a diet tailored to combat inflammation could help manage PMR. Diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and other anti-inflammatory components might offer relief. Foods like fatty fish (salmon, mackerel), green leafy vegetables, berries, and nuts can be beneficial. However, any therapeutic diet should be personalized and developed in consultation with a healthcare professional. 

Diet Supporting Medical Treatments in Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR)

Corticosteroids, such as prednisone, remain the primary treatment for PMR. While these medications are effective, they come with side effects, including bone loss, weight gain, and increased vulnerability to infections. A balanced diet, rich in calcium and vitamin D, can counteract bone loss. Meanwhile, a low-sodium diet can help manage water retention, a common side effect of corticosteroids.


The connection between diet, gut health, and PMR is a burgeoning field of research. While conclusive evidence is still in the making, understanding and focusing on diet and gut health can potentially offer additional avenues for PMR management. Always consult with healthcare professionals before making significant changes to one’s diet, especially when managing conditions like PMR.


  1. Dejaco C, Singh YP, Perel P, et al. 2015. Current evidence for therapeutic interventions and prognostic factors in polymyalgia rheumatica: a systematic literature review informing the 2015 European League Against Rheumatism/American College of Rheumatology recommendations for the management of polymyalgia rheumatica. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. 74(10):1808-1817.
  2. Sender R, Fuchs S, Milo R. 2016. Revised Estimates for the Number of Human and Bacteria Cells in the Body. PLOS Biology. 14(8):e1002533.
  3. Maes M, Leunis JC. 2008. Normalization of leaky gut in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is accompanied by a clinical improvement: effects of age, duration of illness and the translocation of LPS from gram-negative bacteria. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 29(6):902-10.
  4. Hu Y, Sparks JA, Malspeis S, et al. 2018. Long-term dietary quality and risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis in women. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. 77(8):1173-1179.
  5. Lee YH, Bae SC, Song GG. 2012. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis: a meta-analysis. Archives of Medical Research. 43(5):356-362.

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 30, 2023

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