Mediterranean diet and risk of Sjögren's syndrome.

Clin Exp Rheumatol 2020 Jul-Aug;38 Suppl 126(4):216-221. Epub 2020 Oct 23.

Institute of Inflammation and Ageing, College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham, and National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Birmingham Biomedical Research Centre and Department of Rheumatology, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, UK.

Objectives: Non-genetic risk factors for Sjögren's syndrome (SS) are poorly understood. Adherence to a Mediterranean diet has been associated with reduction in other autoimmune diseases. We examined the association of Mediterranean diet with SS.

Methods: New patients attending a single centre warranting investigation for primary SS (pSS) were recruited into the Optimising Assessment in Sjögren's Syndrome cohort established in Birmingham, UK (2014-2018). Participants were classified into pSS and non-SS sicca, considered as cases and non-cases, respectively, and asked to complete an optional food frequency questionnaire on their diet before onset of symptoms. A semi-quantitative Mediterranean diet score (MDS) was calculated (possible range=0 to 18). Using multivariate logistic regression, corrected for energy intake, body-mass index, sex, age, symptom duration, and smoking status, we examined the association of MDS with SS.

Results: Dietary data were available for 133/243 (55%) eligible patients (n=82 pSS and n=51 sicca). In the adjusted model, a higher total MDS (mean ± SD, 9.41±2.31 points) was associated with lower odds of pSS (OR 0.81, 95% CI 0.66-0.99; p=0.038) per one unit of MDS. Among MDS components, the strongest association was seen with fish with OR 0.44 (95% CI 0.24-0.83; p=0.01) in the comparison between <1 portion/week and 1 to 2.5 portions/week. Higher galactose, vitamin A-retinol-equivalents and vitamin C showed associations with lower odds of pSS in multivariate analysis, where the association of vitamin C was attenuated when adjusted for MDS.

Conclusions: When adjusted for potential confounders, adherence to the Mediterranean diet was associated with lower likelihood of having pSS.

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October 2020

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