Is Cheese Good For Joint Pain? (The Pros & Cons)

Is Cheese Good For Joint Pain? (The Pros & Cons)

Does eating cheese worsen your arthritis – or it has nothing to do with it? Lots of people asked me if there’s any connection lately.

To be honest – I couldn’t find a clear answer anywhere:

  • there are no studies on cheese alone
  • I found very few personal opinions

For this reason – I tried to analyze several aspects and find out if there’s a real link between cheese and arthritis flare-ups.

So is cheese good for joint pain? Or you should rather avoid it? It’s time to find out the truth.


PRO #1 – Cheese Doesn’t Cause Joint Pain Alone

Here’s the fact:

Simply consuming cheese won’t make your joints hurt.

Is Cheese Good For Joint Pain? (The Pros & Cons)Even if you eat 30 ounces of cheese everyday, you won’t develop arthritis. At least – not because of cheese.

However – things change if you already have an existing joint problem. Here’s what I mean:

  • processed cheese can worsen arthritis
  • natural cheese can actually decrease inflammation

So it actually depends on what kind of cheese you’re eating.

Let’s say you’re in this situation:

  • you have arthritis for 3 years
  • you eat cheese pizza every 2-3 days

In this case – your arthritis can worsen and your flareups will probably get more often. 

On the other hand, if you eat organic cheese – you shouldn’t worry too much. In the worst case, it won’t have any effect on your condition.

But as I said – that’s only available if you already have a joint problem (caused by something else).

If you don’t – there’s nothing to worry about. Simply eating cheese won’t hurt your joints – no matter how processed it is.



PRO #2 – Camembert Cheese Helps

If you never heard of Camembert cheese – you should really check it out.

Is Cheese Good For Joint Pain? (The Pros & Cons)So what makes it different? Well, here’s the thing:

  • it’s a form of soft cheese
  • it contains high quantities of vitamin K

Now – what exactly can Camembert cheese help arthritis? It’s all about the vitamin K it contains:

  • it decreases inflammatory cells
  • it strengthens your bones

Compared to processed cheese, Camembert cheese is a totally different thing. In fact, its benefits are huge on the long term.

However, it has a few downsides – at least for the american side:

  • pretty hard to find outside France
  • very expensive – even compared to organic cheese

So if you want to get the benefits of Camembert cheese, you have to spend enough money.

In my opinion, that’s not really worth it – because you can control your joint pain using cheaper stuff. 

But when it comes to Camembert cheese, it’s actually recommended for arthritis. So it’s definitely not harmful. 



CON #1 – Milk Intolerance Can Be Dangerous

As I said before – cheese alone can’t cause you joint pain. 

Is Cheese Good For Joint Pain? (The Pros & Cons)But there’s one case scenario when it can make your joints hurt – though it’s pretty rare. What exactly do I mean?

It’s easy – lactose intolerance:

  • cheese is made from milk
  • some people can’t tolerate milk products

So what happens if you’re milk intolerant? 

Consuming any kind of milk products causes inflammation all over your body. It can be a minor inflammation, or a major one – depending on what product you ate. 

In this case, joint pain could be one of the first symptoms:

  • inflammation causes pain
  • joints are usually among the first to be affected by inflammation

However – if you have a lactose intolerance, it’s not just cheese harming you. It’s actually any milk based product, whether it is:

  • yoghurt
  • cakes
  • or dairy

Anyway – it’s pretty unlikely that you have a lactose intolerance. It’s not like gluten intolerance – it’s a lot more rare.

But it’s the only scenario when cheese (and milk) can produce joint pain.



CON #2 – Cheese Proteins

Here’s another interesting fact – though it’s pretty rare:

  • Is Cheese Good For Joint Pain? (The Pros & Cons)cheese contains certain types of proteins 
  • some people don’t react well to those proteins
  • they irritate the tissue around the joints

This is something similar to milk intolerance – it happens rarely and only in certain people. So there are little chances that it happens to you.

However, scientists can’t tell how exactly these proteins affect the joints:

  • it could be a genetic sensitivity
  • your body may not react well to certain ingredients

And because it doesn’t affect lots of people – it’s not something of major importance.

But it’s not just cheese that can irritate your joints – it’s actually every dairy product. However, there are very small chances.

So if you think that cheese could be causing your joint pain – it’s pretty unlikely. It is possible, but pretty unlikely.



My Personal Opinion

If it’s the first time you come across my website, here’s what you should know about me:

  • I have both RA and OA
  • my RA pain is worse in my hands and sometimes elbows
  • the pain from OA is not as bad

So basically, it’s rheumatoid arthritis causing my joint pain.

Now – I am and have always been a fan of dairy. Whether it’s cheese, milk or yoghurt – I enjoy them all.

Since I developed RA, I heard certain people saying that diary products worsen inflammation and that you should avoid them. 

It kind of made sense, so I decided to give this “diet” a chance:

  • I gave up every dairy product for several weeks
  • my pain didn’t get any better
  • also, my hands and elbows were as swollen as before

So if I were to speak from experience – cheese and diary don’t have a big influence on inflammation and joint pain. In my case, they didn’t.

However, there’s one thing I can recommend you:

  • try to choose homemade diary products
  • they are a lot healthier than the processed ones

Processed diary will probably not affect your pain anyway – but it’s better to stay safe and avoid anything processed. 



My Verdict – Is Cheese Good Or Bad For Joint Pain?

Short answer: Cheese alone doesn’t affect joint pain in any way.

Except a few situations, you’re totally safe eating cheese – even if you have arthritis.

However, don’t exaggerate with processed cheese:

  • though it won’t harm your joints directly
  • it could promote inflammation on the long term

Just like every processed food, actually. 

If you have the chance to try Camembert cheese, don’t think twice. This cheese contains a lot of vitamin K – which can decrease inflammation.

But if you can’t find this cheese (most of us can’t), just stick to organic cheese and dairy products. They will surely not hurt your joints at all.

Heather Pharm.D.

Heather Tracy Foley is a Pharmacy graduate, Blogger and Author with a vast experience in health sciences. She has a particular interest in joint pain and rheumatology and spent several years studying health problems. You can find her on Pinterest or via email.

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