A Diet That Helps MCTD Symptoms

Mixed connective tissue disease, or MCTD, is an autoimmune disorder that produces overlapping symptoms of polymyositis, scleroderma and lupus. In addition, individuals with MCTD may experience features of rheumatoid arthritis. Some common symptoms of MCTD include fatigue, blood vessel spasms, swollen hands, low-grade fever, muscles aches, sensitivity to cold and joint swelling. Consuming certain foods and following a balanced diet may help decrease the intensity of some of your symptoms. If you suffer from an autoimmune disorder, always check with your doctor before making changes to your diet.

Pineapple contains bromelain, which has pain relief benefits. (Image: Maksym Narodenko/iStock/Getty Images)

Vitamin D

Vitamin D plays a critical role in the functioning of your immune system, as it assists in cellular production and development. Deficiencies in vitamin D are linked to the progression of autoimmune disorders. In addition, a vitamin D deficiency is associated with the advancement of connective tissue disorders, according to a study published in "Arthritis Research and Therapy" in 2008. Adequate vitamin D intake is paramount for optimal immune system regulation. The recommended daily allowance of vitamin D is 600 international units for adults up to age 70, and 800 international units for adults 71 and older. Good food sources of vitamin D include salmon, sardines, mackerel, egg yolk, fortified milk, cereal and orange juice.

Fish Oil

Fish oil may help relieve stiffness, inflammation and joint pain that commonly occur in individuals with MCTD. Also, omega-3 fatty acid, a type of fish oil, may enhance your circulation and alleviate sensitivities to the cold. Good sources of fish oil include fish oil supplements, salmon, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines and anchovies. While there is no daily recommended allowance for fish oil, MedlinePlus recommends that you take 3 grams or less of fish oil every day.


Bromelain is a type of enzyme that may be consumed to reduce arthritic pain and joint stiffness. This enzyme is found in the stem and the core of pineapple and in pineapple juice. Bromelain works by promoting the production of agents that relieve pain and swelling. In addition, bromelain contains chemicals that impede tumor growth and thin the blood. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends ingesting bromelain daily to reduce inflammation and pain. Talk to your doctor prior to taking any supplements containing bromelain.

Overall Nutrition

Eating a balanced diet incorporating a variety of fruits and vegetables will help you maintain proper nutrition and overall health, advises MayoClinic.com. In addition, eating foods rich in antioxidants, such as blueberries, strawberries, cabbage, tomatoes and broccoli, supports immune functioning and fights free radicals. Stay hydrated and avoid beverages that may dehydrate your body, such as caffeine and alcohol. Maintaining good overall health may alleviate some MCTD symptoms or assist you in coping better with your symptoms.

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