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Osteoarthritis and diet - the missing link

Did you know diet can actually affect both risk and symptoms of osteoarthritis? 🌱Osteoarthritis (OA) is the loss of cartilage in joints - this cartilage provides a smooth friction free surface for the joints to move 🌱When this cartilage is lost, joints become painful, and also change in shape, eventually often requiring surgery to replace the joint

🌱OA has traditionally been thought to be purely wear and tear ie a natural consequence of ageing 🌱It can also be affected by many other factors - weight, genetics, trauma, occupation, and other diseases 🌱Recent research has shown that inflammation may also play a big role - via release of inflammatory chemicals (cytokines and prostaglandins) from the joint tissue, that cause inflammation, pain, and further joint damage 🌱This may also explain why not everyone with OA changes on xrays have symptoms - and why dietary changes can help reduce pain 🌱One study looking at over 4000 people from the osteoarthritis initiative study, compared dietary inflammatory index (DII, see post on this) to risk of osteoarthritis 🌱It found that people with the most inflammatory diet had 40% more risk of having symptomatic OA!!! (1) 🌱Another study using the same study population, looked at risk of developing OA over 4 years, related to DII - again the risk of developing painful OA was 43% higher with a higher DII (2) 🌱Saturated fat had an even bigger effect - high saturated fat intake increased risk of OA by 60%! 🌱BMI also played a factor in this study - thought to be both due to mechanical forces (ie more weight through joints), but also more risk of inflammation 🌱So how can you reduce your risk of OA, or improve symptoms if you already have it? 🌱Eating an 'anti-inflammatory diet' helps reduce risk, as above. See seperate article on this 🌱Adequate dietary omega 3 has been linked with reduced joint inflammation and cartilage loss (3) 🌱Maintain a healthy body weight - 5% weight loss if you are overweight can improve symptoms by up to 50%, and every 5kg of weight gained above BMI of 25 increases risk of getting OA by 36% 🌱Ginger, tumeric, ASU (avocado soy) and rhubarb extracts have been shown to help symptoms in some studies(3)14w

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