Protects Against Hip Osteoarthritis
at King's College London and the University of East Anglia have discovered
that women who consume a diet high in allium vegetables, such as garlic,
onions and leeks, have lower levels of hip osteoarthritis.
published in the December 2010 BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
journal, not only highlight the possible effects of diet in protecting
against osteoarthritis, but also show the potential for using compounds
found in garlic to develop treatments for the condition.
between body weight and osteoarthritis was previously recognised,
although it is not yet completely understood. This study is the first
of its kind to delve deeper into the dietary patterns and influences
that could impact on development and prevention of the condition.
is the most common form of arthritis in adults, affecting around 8
million people in the UK, and women are more likely to develop it
than men. It causes pain and disability by affecting the hip, knees
and spine in the middle-aged and elderly population. Currently there
is no effective treatment other than pain relief and, ultimately,
funded by Arthritis Research UK, the Wellcome Trust and Dunhill Medical
Trust, looked at over 1,000 healthy female twins, many of whom had
no symptoms of arthritis.
carried out a detailed assessment of the diet patterns of the twins
and analysed these alongside x-ray images, which captured the extent
of early osteoarthritis in the participants' hips, knees and spine.
found that in those who consumed a healthy diet with a high intake
of fruit and vegetables, particularly alliums such as garlic, there
was less evidence of early osteoarthritis in the hip joint.
the potential protective effect of alliums further, researchers studied
the compounds found in garlic. They found that that a compound called
diallyl disulphide limits the amount of cartilage-damaging enzymes
when introduced to a human cartilage cell-line in the laboratory.
Williams, lead author from the Department of Twin Research at King's
College London, says: "While we don't yet know if eating garlic
will lead to high levels of this component in the joint, these findings
may point the way towards future treatments and prevention of hip
has been known for a long time that there is a link between body weight
and osteoarthritis. Many researchers have tried to find dietary components
influencing the condition, but this is the first large scale study
of diet in twins. If our results are confirmed by follow-up studies,
this will point the way towards dietary intervention or targeted drug
therapy for people with osteoarthritis."
Ian Clark of the University of East Anglia said: "Osteoarthritis
is a major health issue and this exciting study shows the potential
for diet to influence the course of the disease. With further work
to confirm and extend these early findings, this may open up the possibility
of using diet or dietary supplements in the future treatment osteoarthritis."
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