Researchers at King’s College London and the University of East Anglia have discovered that women who consume a diet high in vegetables such as garlic, onions and leeks, have lower levels of hip osteoarthritis. These vegetables are high in sulfur.
The findings, published in the 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.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in adults, 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 high-sulfur ones such as garlic, there was less evidence of early osteoarthritis in the hip joint.
They also found that that a certain compound in garlic 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.”
Source: Eurekalert http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-12/kcl-ssg121610.php