Two new studies find nutrients help osteoarthritis of the knee
Chondroitin and celecoxib.
Celecoxib is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It works by reducing hormones that cause inflammation and pain in the body. The authors of this first study compared the effect of this drug with the nutritional supplement, chondroitin.
In some people with osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee, the membrane that lines the knee joint swells and thickens with excess synovial fluid. In this study, 194 people with these symptoms took 1,200 mg of chondroitin or 200 mg of celecoxib per day.
After 12 months, those in the chondroitin group had a slower rate of cartilage loss compared to celecoxib. After 24 months, those taking chondroitin saw 51 percent less swelling from excess fluid compared to 39 percent for celecoxib. For pain, stiffness, and joint function, the chondroitin group saw an overall reduction in these symptoms of 54 percent compared to 43 percent for celecoxib. Both groups used a similar amount of acetaminophen for pain, and both chondroitin and celecoxib reduced osteoarthritis symptoms.
Doctors said chondroitin was superior to celecoxib in reducing long-term progression of structural changes in OA of the knee.
Reference: American College of Rheumatology Meeting Abstract #950; September, 2015
Doctors are seeking a safer alternative to standard non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for treating pain in osteoarthritis. NSAIDs such as Celecoxib (see the previous study) have potentially serious side effects. For example, here are some of the cautions relating to Celecoxib:
“Celecoxib can increase your risk of fatal heart attack or stroke, especially if you use it long term or take high doses, or if you have heart disease. Even people without heart disease or risk factors could have a stroke or heart attack while taking this medicine. . . Celecoxib may also cause stomach or intestinal bleeding, which can be fatal. These conditions can occur without warning while you are using celecoxib, especially in older adults . . .”
This is why natural alternatives, such as chondroitin and curmin are so appealing. In this second study, they looked at the effectiveness of curcumin. Earlier studies had shown the anti-inflammatory phytochemicals in curcumin, called curcuminoids, were effective in protecting cartilage cells.
In this study, 19 people with mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis took 500 mg of curcuminoids three times per day, or a placebo. At the start of the study, there were no significant differences in osteoarthritis symptom scores, and participants in both groups were of similar age, gender, and body mass index.
After six weeks, although stiffness was similar in both groups, the curcuminoids group saw greater relief from pain and improved physical function. Also, 84 percent of those in the curcuminoids group had stopped needing to take the NSAID naproxen for relieving pain, compared to 19 percent for placebo.
Doctors said curcuminoids were safe and effective in treating symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee.
Reference: Phytotherapy Research; November, 2014, Vol. 28, No. 11, 1625-31
Note: A version of this article appeared in the Summer 2016 Willner Window Newsletter/Product Catalog.