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Grapes for Osteoarthritis

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Osteoarthritis – the painful condition where the natural cushioning between joints (the cartilage) wears away – now has a remedy in grapes! According to new findings of a research presented at the Experimental Biology conference in San Diego, California, regular grape consumption may help alleviate pain associated with symptomatic osteoarthritis of the knee, and improve joint flexibility and overall mobility. Researchers attribute these potential benefits to the polyphenols found in grapes.

Osteoarthritis is more likely to occur in people over 45 years of age, mostly in the knee and women are more likely to have osteoarthritis than men. This 16 week clinical study by Texas Woman’s University aimed to investigate the benefits of grape consumption on inflammation and osteoarthritis outcomes. During the study, 72 men and women with knee osteoarthritis were assigned to either consume grapes in the form of a whole grape freeze-dried powder, or a placebo powder.

Results of the Study

It was found that both men and women consuming a grape-enriched diet had a significant decrease in self-reported pain related to activity and an overall decrease in total knee symptoms. This beneficial effect was more pronounced in women.
Age-related differences were observed too: among those consuming the grape powder, there was a 70% increase in very hard activity for those under 64 years of age, while those receiving the placebo reported a significant decrease in very hard activity. Participants over 65 years, whether consuming grapes or the placebo, reported a decline in moderate to hard activities.
Evidence of increased cartilage metabolism was observed in men consuming the grape-enriched diet; they had higher levels of an important cartilage growth factor (IGF-1) than those on placebo. This protective effect was not observed in women.
“These findings provide promising data that links grape consumption to two very important outcomes for those living with knee osteoarthritis: reduced pain and improvements in joint flexibility,” said Dr. Shanil Juma, the lead investigator. “More research is needed to better understand the results of the serum biomarkers, as well as the age and gender differences observed.”
Dr. Juma also shared results from a recent cell study that looked at the effects of whole grape polyphenols on cartilage cell integrity and markers of cartilage health. Cartilage cells were first treated with various doses of whole grape polyphenols, and then stimulated with an inflammatory agent. Cell proliferation significantly increased – in a dose dependent manner – in the grape polyphenol treated cells in the presence of an inflammatory agent. Additionally a marker for cartilage degradation was significantly lower with the three highest doses of the whole grape polyphenols when compared to control cells and cells treated with the inflammatory agent, suggesting a possible protective effect of grapes on cartilage cells.

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This web site is run by an Arthritis Specialist based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. On this site you will find news about the latest in arthritis, information about research results in the field, tips and information and diet and exercise, and much more.

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