Study Shows Garlic Could Protect Against Hip Osteoarthritis
Source: Nutrition Horizon 02/09/11
Summary: The findings, published in the 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.
Researchers 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.
The findings, published in the 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.
A relationship between body weight
and osteoarthritis was previously recognized, 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.
Osteoarthritis 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, joint replacement.
The study, 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.
The team carried out a detailed
assessment of the diet patterns of the twins and analyzed these alongside x-ray
images, which captured the extent of early osteoarthritis in the participants'
hips, knees and spine.
They 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.
To investigate 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.
Dr Frances 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 osteoarthritis.
"It 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."
Professor 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
here to see Garlic
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