Study reveals association between oxidative balance score and rheumatoid arthritis risk in women

In a recent study featured in BMC Women’s Health, researchers found a negative correlation between the oxidative balance score (OBS) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in women. This suggests that adopting an antioxidant-rich diet and lifestyle could hold promise as preventive measures against RA in females. 

La and colleagues analyzed National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data from 2007 to 2018, involving 8,219 women, including 597 with RA. Their findings indicated a significant inverse relationship between a higher total oxidative balance score (TOBS) and RA prevalence in a fully adjusted model (odds ratio = 0.968; P = 0.0001). Both Dietary Oxidative Balance Score (DOBS) and Lifestyle Oxidative Balance Score (LOBS) also exhibited negative correlations with RA incidence. Notably, this association remained consistent across various TOBS subgroups categorized by age, race, education level, family poverty-to-income ratio (PIR), hypertension, and diabetes. Furthermore, smooth curve fitting and threshold effect analysis indicated a linear relationship between OBS and RA. 

 Oxidative stress plays a central role in RA pathology, with reactive oxygen species generated during the immune response. Recent research underscores the impact of antioxidants and pro-oxidants on RA, highlighting the importance of daily diet and lifestyle choices. Foods rich in vitamins, polyphenols found in fruits and vegetables, and olive oil with omega-3 fatty acids and tocopherols exhibit antioxidant properties, which can mitigate the risk of RA by neutralizing free radicals. Conversely, smoking, known for its pro-oxidative effects due to the release of free radicals, significantly elevates the risk of RA, whether actively or passively. 

The study underscores the significance of the OBS as a robust indicator of oxidative stress within the body. The findings demonstrating a negative correlation between TOBS, DOBS, LOBS, and RA incidence in women highlights the potential for developing preventive measures for RA based on OBS. Encouraging antioxidant-rich dietary patterns and adopting a healthy lifestyle can elevate OBS levels, potentially safeguarding women against RA.  


La R, Zhou L, Yin Y, Lu L, Li L, Jiang D, et al. Association between oxidative balance score and rheumatoid arthritis in female: a cross-sectional study. BMC Womens Health. 2024 Apr 6;24(1):225.