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Nutrient - Garlic may keep osteoarthritis at bay

By Holly Taylor BSc (Hons) DipCNM MBANT NTCC

According to researchers at King’s College London, and the University of East Anglia, garlic not only protects against hip osteoarthritis, but also contains certain compounds that could help in managing the painful condition.

Researchers exploring the impact of dietary patterns on the development and prevention of hip osteoarthritis studied 1,086 healthy female twins aged 46 to 77 years who had no symptoms of the painful condition. For the purpose of the study, the investigators assessed their eating habits and also carried out x-ray scans to determine the extent of early osteoarthritis in the twins’ hips, knees and spine.

Overall, the researchers found that women who had a high intake of garlic exhibited lower levels of osteoarthritis in the hip joint. To examine these benefits, they carried out further laboratory studies, testing the allium compounds present in the garlic on human cells. During these tests, they found that diallyl disulphide, an organic sulphur compound in garlic, is able to limit the amount of cartilage-damaging enzymes, making it a potential candidate for joint protection.

Lead author of the study, Dr Frances Williams, from the Department of Twin Research at King’s College London, stated: “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”.

Article References

Williams FM. Dietary garlic and hip osteoarthritis: evidence of a protective effect and putative mechanism of action. BMC Musculoskelet Disord 2010; 11:280.

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