Diet & Osteoarthritis
Author: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
For centuries, we humans have considered that our health is influenced by what we eat. Let's face it, if you eat a taco with hot sauce and have diarrheafollowed by anal burning the next morning, the food affected your body!
The concept that diet can, in any way, affect osteoarthritis (degenerative arthritis) is being evaluated by researchers. Keep in mind that this field is just developing and few hard conclusions can be reached. Here is the latest:
- Obesityincreases the risk for developing osteoarthritis. Overweight people might reduce their chances for developing or aggravating their osteoarthritis by losing weight. Furthermore, if a person already has substantial osteoarthritis in a weight-bearing joint, such as a knee or hip, weight reduction can significantly improve their ability to rehabilitate after joint surgery as well as decrease their risk of surgical complications.
- Vitamin C is important in the development of normal cartilage. A deficiency of vitamin C might lead to the development of weak cartilage. Vitamin C is commonly available in citrus fruits. Supplementation with a vitamin C tablet may be advised if dietary fruits are unavailable.
- People with low bone mineral density, such as in osteoporosis, may be at increased risk for osteoarthritis. Exercise and adequate calcium intake, as recommended for age and gender, can help to maintain bone density.