Mediterranean diet slows inflammation in PATIENTS WITH knee osteoarthritis

La dieta mediterránea frena la inflamación en pacientes con artrosis de rodilla

Researchers at the University of Kent, UK, have shown that patients with osteoarthritis of the knee who changed their usual diet to a Mediterranean diet for 16 weeks, in addition to losing weight, significantly decreased levels of a cartilage pro-inflammatory molecule, called IL-1alpha, compared to another group of patients who did not change their diet.

The results of the study of 100 patients were published this week in the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging.

Osteoarthritis and nutrition

The first line of treatment for osteoarthritis is usually a combination of analgesic and anti-inflammatory treatments. This strategy can produce a short-term benefit in pain management and delay surgery. However, researchers say, safe and effective alternatives are needed not only to alleviate symptoms in the early stages of the disease but also to slow its development.

In this regard, several studies show that diet can play a major role in some chronic diseases. A diet rich in trans fats and saturated fats increases the risk of osteoarthritis and may also increase the symptoms of the disease. This is why the researchers highlight the need to test whether dietary adherence alone can improve the symptoms of osteoarthritis and modify relevant biomarkers.

4 months of Mediterranean diet

The study was carried out on 99 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee from the South East of England. 50 patients changed their diet to a Mediterranean diet rich in vegetables, fruit, grain, olive oil, fish and less red meat than in other Western diets for 16 weeks. The 49 patients did not make any dietary changes.

The direct dietary intervention resulted in dietary behavioural changes in the patients associated with a weight loss that was sufficient to improve function and decrease pain. On the other hand, they measured up to 18 biomarkers of knee osteoarthritis. Only one of them decreased significantly in the Mediterranean diet group: the pro-inflammatory molecule IL-1alpha; they also detected a decrease in a biomarker of cartilage degradation.

The researchers conclude that the study suggests that adopting a Mediterranean diet is beneficial in mitigating the symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee but that longer-term studies are needed to see whether decreases in these biomarkers could slow the development of the disease.

Article reference

Dyer J, Davison G, Marcora SM, Mauger AR. Effect of a Mediterranean Type Diet on Inflammatory and Cartilage Degradation Biomarkers in Patients with Osteoarthritis. J Nutr Health Aging. 2017;21(5):562-566. doi: 10.1007/s12603-016-0806-y.

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