Stelara (ustekinumab) is a biologic medication primarily prescribed for the treatment of certain autoimmune disorders like psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and Crohn’s disease. While Stelara targets specific proteins in the immune system to reduce inflammation, certain foods can interfere with its effectiveness or exacerbate underlying conditions. This guide delves deep into the foods one should consider avoiding while on Stelara.
Understanding Stelara’s Mechanism
Stelara works by targeting interleukin-12 and interleukin-23, two proteins involved in inflammatory responses. By inhibiting these proteins, Stelara reduces inflammation, alleviating symptoms of certain autoimmune conditions.
Foods that Might Trigger Inflammation
While Stelara aims to reduce inflammation, certain foods can counteract its effects:
1. Processed Foods:
- Why to Avoid: High in unhealthy fats, sugars, and salts, processed foods can elevate inflammation levels.
- Examples: Canned soups, frozen dinners, and certain snack foods.
2. Sugary Beverages:
- Why to Avoid: Drinks high in sugar content can lead to weight gain and increased inflammation.
- Examples: Sodas, energy drinks, and certain fruit juices.
3. Red and Processed Meats:
- Why to Avoid: These meats can be rich in saturated fats, which can exacerbate inflammation.
- Examples: Bacon, sausages, and red cuts of beef.
Foods that May Interfere with Gut Health
For patients taking Stelara for Crohn’s disease, it’s vital to maintain optimal gut health:
- Why to Avoid: While not everyone is intolerant to gluten, it can irritate the digestive systems of certain individuals, especially those with autoimmune disorders.
- Examples: Wheat-based products like bread, pasta, and cereals.
2. Dairy Products:
- Why to Avoid: Some people might be lactose intolerant or sensitive to dairy, which can trigger digestive issues.
- Examples: Milk, cheese, and butter.
3. Spicy Foods:
- Why to Avoid: Can irritate the gastrointestinal tract, leading to digestive discomfort.
- Examples: Hot peppers, certain curries, and spicy condiments.
Foods Potentially Harmful to the Liver
As with many medications, Stelara is processed by the liver. Thus, maintaining liver health is crucial:
- Why to Avoid: Excessive alcohol intake can strain the liver, affecting its ability to process medications and toxins.
2. Foods High in Sodium:
- Why to Avoid: Can contribute to liver strain and worsen hypertension.
- Examples: Processed snacks, certain canned foods, and pre-packaged meals.
Conclusion: Personalization is Key
Dietary responses can vary significantly among individuals. While this guide offers a general overview, it’s vital to consult with a healthcare professional or nutritionist to personalize dietary recommendations. Monitoring one’s reactions to foods and keeping a food diary can be beneficial. With informed choices, patients on Stelara can optimize their treatment outcomes and overall well-being.