May 8, 2018

Symptoms of Osteoarthritis Lessened With Simple Changes to the Diet

GUILDFORD, United Kingdom -- May 8, 2018 -- One gram of fish oil a day could help reduce the pain of patients with osteoarthritis (OA), according to a study published in Rheumatology.

In the largest, most up to date study of its kind, researchers from the University of Surrey, Guildford, United Kingdom, examined the link between diet and the effective self-management of OA.

In analysing 68 previous studies in the field, researchers found that a low-dose supplement of fish oil could result in pain reduction for patients with OA and help improve their cardiovascular health. Essential fatty acids in fish oil reduce inflammation in joints, helping to alleviate pain.

The researchers also found that a reduction of weight for overweight and obese patients and the introduction of exercise tailored to mobility could also help ease the symptoms of OA. Not only does obesity increase strain on joints, it can cause low-grade, systemic inflammation in the body aggravating the condition further.

A calorie restricted diet, combined with strengthening, flexibility, and aerobic exercises, was identified as an effective approach in reducing pain in overweight patients.

There is no evidence that a calorie restricted diet does anything beneficial for lean patients with the condition.

An increase in foods rich in vitamin K such as kale, spinach, and parsley was also found to deliver benefits to patients with OA. Vitamin K is needed for vitamin-K-dependent (VKD) proteins, which are found in bone and cartilage. An inadequate intake of the vitamin adversely affects the working of the protein, affecting bone growth and repair and increasing the risk of OA.

“The importance of a good diet and regular exercise should never be underestimated,” said Margaret Rayman, University of Surrey. “Not only does it keep us fit and healthy, but as we have learned from this study, it can also lessen painful symptoms of osteoarthritis. We are what we eat and it is important that we have the right amount of nutrients from our food to ensure that our body systems work as they should.”

Reference: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/rheumatology/key011

SOURCE: University of Surrey
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