2011 October 23 Sunday
Omega 3 Fats Cut Guinea Pig Osteoarthritis Risk

Tell all the guinea pigs you know they should get more fish fat in their diets. Omega-3 fats found in fish oil cut the incidence of osteoarthritis in guinea pigs

New research has shown for the first time that omega-3 in fish oil could "substantially and significantly" reduce the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis.

According to the University of Bristol study, funded by Arthritis Research UK and published in the journal Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, omega-3-rich diets fed to guinea pigs, which naturally develop osteoarthritis, reduced disease by 50 per cent compared to a standard diet.

The research is a major step forward in showing that omega-3 fatty acids, either sourced from fish oil or flax oil, may help to slow down the progression of osteoarthritis, or even prevent it occurring, confirming anecdotal reports and "old wives' tales" about the benefits of fish oil for joint health.

Lead researcher Dr John Tarlton, from the Matrix Biology Research group at the University of Bristol's School of Veterinary Sciences, said classic early signs of the condition, such as the degradation of collagen in cartilage and the loss of molecules that give it shock-absorbing properties, were both reduced with omega-3.

In humans getting more omega 3 fatty acids appears to cut inflammation.

By Randall Parker    2011 October 23 10:16 PM   Entry Permalink | Comments (0)
2010 December 26 Sunday
Garlic, Onions, Leeks For Lower Osteoarthritis Risk

Protect your hip joints with garlic.

Researchers at King's College London and the University of East Anglia have discovered that women who consume a diet high in allium vegetables, such as garlic, onions and leeks, have lower levels of hip osteoarthritis.

The findings, published in the BMC 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.

This is not a prospective study with controls. So take it all with a grain of garlic salt. But it looks like the allium vegetables might cut arthritis risk.

The team carried out a detailed assessment of the diet patterns of the twins and analysed 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 alliums such as garlic, there was less evidence of early osteoarthritis in the hip joint.

Since I'm too busy to mess around with garlic bulbs I use garlic powder. Anyone know much about forms of garlic and potency?

By Randall Parker    2010 December 26 02:48 PM   Entry Permalink | Comments (13)
2010 July 13 Tuesday
New Vitamin D Guidelines In Canada

Osteoporosis Canada recommends more vitamin D, especially for adults over 50 and with osteoporosis.

New and updated guidelines on recommended vitamin D intake have been published this week in the online issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).

Dr. David Hanley, professor at the University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine, and member of Osteoporosis Canada's (OC) Scientific Advisory Council, is the lead author of the paper on behalf of Osteoporosis Canada.

To take above 2000 IU per day the paper recommends medical supervision.

The new guidelines recommend daily supplements of 400 to 1000 IU for adults under age 50 without osteoporosis or conditions affecting vitamin D absorption. For adults over 50, supplements of between 800 and 2000 IU are recommended.

"A daily supplement of 25 mcg (800 IU) should now be regarded as a minimum dose for adults with osteoporosis," writes Hanley with co-authors. "Canadians can safely take daily vitamin D supplements up to the current definition of tolerable upper intake level (50 mcg [2000 IU]), but doses above that require medical supervision."

Blood tests can help guide decisions on how much vitamin D is needed.

By Randall Parker    2010 July 13 10:29 PM   Entry Permalink | Comments (1)
2010 June 16 Wednesday
Alcohol Cuts Arthritis Risk

More alcohol, less arthritis risk.

Rome, Italy, Wednesday 16 June 2010: Alcohol consumption is associated with a significantly reduced risk of developing several arthritic conditions including Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), Osteoarthritis (OA), reactive arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and spondylarthropathy, according to results of a new study presented today at EULAR 2010, the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism in Rome, Italy. Regardless of the type of arthritis, all patients reported drinking less alcohol than controls, leading to questions around the inflammatory pathways behind the effects seen.

In this Dutch study, alcohol consumption was associated with a significantly lower risk of developing RA (Odds Ratio (OR) 0.27 (0.22-0.34), Osteoarthritis (OR 0.31, (0.16-0.62), spondylarthropathy (OR 0.34, 0.17-0.67), psoriatic arthritis (OR 0.38, 0.23-0.62), and reactive arthritis (OR 0.27, 0.14-0.52). A particularly protective effect was shown in the RA population with the presence of Anti-Citrullinated Protein Antibodies (ACPA, potentially important surrogate markers for diagnosis and prognosis in RA), (OR 0.59, 0.30-0.99).

Alcohol strikes me as a great example of how choosing an ideal diet will some day depend on genetic profiling of relative health risks. Some people are genetically at greater risk of alcoholism. So they probably ought to avoid drinking much alcohol. At the same time, alcohol appears to boost cancer risk (possibly by stimulating blood vessel growth that enables cancer growth). So if one's genetic profile might indicate one's level of cancer risk one could know whether regular alcohol consumption was worth the risk. On the other side of the risk equation, alcohol probably cuts heart disease risk (and possibly via the same mechanism by which it boosts cancer risk. Plus, it cuts arthritis risk of the report above is correct. So you need to know your genetic risk of arthritis too.

Genes won't be the only source of information in forming detailed health risk profiles 5 or 10 years hence. Other biological tests already provide indications of risk for heart disease, stroke, and other diseases. The number of such tests and their power will steadily increase in coming years. We will therefore be able to buy services to create very detailed individual assessments of many of our disease risks.

To make a wise decision about alcohol you end up needing a detailed view into the extent that your potential risks will change from drinking alcohol. There's no one correct answer that applies to everyone.

By Randall Parker    2010 June 16 11:04 PM   Entry Permalink | Comments (2)
2010 February 09 Tuesday
Soy Isoflavones Not Protective For Bones?

Not looking so good for isoflavone benefits.

AMES, Iowa -- A previous six-month study by Iowa State University researchers had indicated that consuming modest amounts of soy protein, rich in isoflavones, lessened lumbar spine bone loss in midlife, perimenopausal women. But now an expanded three-year study by some of those same researchers does not show a bone-sparing effect in postmenopausal women who ingested soy isoflavone tablets, except for a modest effect at the femoral (hip) neck among those who took the highest dosage.

The multi-center clinical trial of 224 postmenopausal women -- led by D. Lee Alekel, professor of nutrition and interim associate director of the Nutrition and Wellness Research Center (NWRC) at Iowa State, and supported by the National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, one of the research institutes of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) -- was the longest ever conducted on the effects of soy isoflavones on bone mineral density (BMD). It compared the effects of either ingesting daily 80-mg daily or 120-mg soy isoflavone tablets, compared to placebo tablets on BMD and other health outcomes.

The hope was that the isoflavones would act like hormone substitutes and therefore help reduce bone loss. There might have been a small benefit on neck bone.

While the 120-mg dose soy isoflavones did reveal a small protective effect on femoral neck bone BMD, researchers found no significant effect of treatment on lumbar spine, total hip, or whole-body BMD.

There's still exercise, vitamin D, vitamin K, and of course beer for the silicon.

By Randall Parker    2010 February 09 09:08 PM   Entry Permalink | Comments (1)
2010 February 08 Monday
Beer Silicon Against Osteoporosis

I know how dutiful you all are about your health and I'm sure many of you will do the responsible thing and drink beer for your bones.

A new study suggests that beer is a significant source of dietary silicon, a key ingredient for increasing bone mineral density. Researchers from the Department of Food Science & Technology at the University of California, Davis studied commercial beer production to determine the relationship between beer production methods and the resulting silicon content, concluding that beer is a rich source of dietary silicon. Details of this study are available in the February issue of the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the Society of Chemical Industry.

"The factors in brewing that influence silicon levels in beer have not been extensively studied" said Charles Bamforth, lead author of the study. "We have examined a wide range of beer styles for their silicon content and have also studied the impact of raw materials and the brewing process on the quantities of silicon that enter wort and beer."

Silicon is present in beer in the soluble form of orthosilicic acid (OSA), which yields 50% bioavailability, making beer a major contributor to silicon intake in the Western diet. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), dietary silicon (Si), as soluble OSA, may be important for the growth and development of bone and connective tissue, and beer appears to be a major contributor to Si intake. Based on these findings, some studies suggest moderate beer consumption may help fight osteoporosis, a disease of the skeletal system characterized by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue.

They tested 100 commercial beers. Anyone have access to this journal and wants to tell us which beers are best?

The lighter beers are better.

The researchers examined a variety of raw material samples and found little change in the silicon content of barley during the malting process. The majority of the silicon in barley is in the husk, which is not affected greatly during malting. The malts with the higher silicon contents are pale colored which have less heat stress during the malting process. The darker products, such as the chocolate, roasted barley and black malt, all have substantial roasting and much lower silicon contents than the other malts for reasons that are not yet known.

Partly for the sake of my bones I also take vitamin D, calcium and biweekly high potency vitamin K (as K2 fwiw).

By Randall Parker    2010 February 08 11:53 AM   Entry Permalink | Comments (4)
2009 September 21 Monday
Green Tea Good For Bones?

Some researchers in Hong Kong find chemicals in green tea appear to boost bone growth.

In the new study, Ping Chung Leung and colleagues note that many scientific studies have linked tea to beneficial effects in preventing cancer, heart disease, and other conditions. Recent studies in humans and cell cultures suggest that tea may also benefit bone health. But few scientific studies have explored the exact chemicals in tea that might be responsible for this effect.

The scientists exposed a group of cultured bone-forming cells (osteoblasts) to three major green tea components — epigallocatechin (EGC), gallocatechin (GC), and gallocatechin gallate (GCG) — for several days. They found that one in particular, EGC, boosted the activity of a key enzyme that promotes bone growth by up to 79 percent. EGC also significantly boosted levels of bone mineralization in the cells, which strengthens bones. The scientists also showed that high concentrations of ECG blocked the activity of a type of cell (osteoclast) that breaks down or weakens bones. The green tea components did not cause any toxic effects to the bone cells, they note.

One can't conclude from this one report that green tea will lessen your risks of osteoarthritis or osteoporosis.

Check out this USDA document (PDF format) of flavonoids in foods. Some other foods have catechins such as apples, apricots, blackberries, broad beans, chocolate, raspberries, and tea (both black and green).

By Randall Parker    2009 September 21 10:14 PM   Entry Permalink | Comments (3)
2009 March 24 Tuesday
Vitamin D Supplements Cut Bone Fractures In Elderly

Hey, time for another puff piece on the glories of vitamin D. Avoid broken bones in your dotage by taking pills.

Oral vitamin D supplements at a dose of at least 400 international units per day are associated with a reduced risk of bone fractures in older adults, according to results of a meta-analysis published in the March 23 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

"The anti-fracture benefits of vitamin D have been questioned by several recent trials, leading to uncertainty among patients and physicians regarding recommendations for vitamin D supplementation," the authors write as background information in the article. "Factors that may obscure a benefit of vitamin D are low adherence to treatment, low dose of vitamin D or the use of less potent ergocalciferol (vitamin D2)."

Heike A. Bischoff-Ferrari, Dr.P.H., of the University of Zurich, University Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland, and colleagues performed a meta-analysis on 12 previously published clinical trials of oral vitamin D supplements among adults age 65 or older. These double-blind randomized controlled trials involved 42,279 participants (average age 78) and looked at non-vertebral (non-spinal) fractures, including eight trials of 40,886 participants specifically studying hip fractures.

Vitamin D at over 400 IU per day is needed for a benefit.

When the results of the trials were pooled, vitamin D supplements decreased the risk of non-vertebral fractures by 14 percent and of hip fractures by 9 percent. The authors then pooled the results of only the nine trials in which participants received doses of more than 400 international units per day. At this dosage, vitamin D supplements reduced non-vertebral fractures by 20 percent and hip fractures by 18 percent. Doses of 400 international units per day or lower did not reduce the risk of either fracture type. A greater reduction in risk was also seen among trial participants whose blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (a commonly used measure of blood vitamin D levels) achieved a greater increase.

For people getting the most vitamin D additional calcium did not cut fracture risks. Vitamin D rules.

But blood levels of vitamin D are dropping. Is this a sign of a decay of civilization? Or just a coincidence?

Average blood levels of vitamin D appear to have decreased in the United States between 1994 and 2004, according to a report in the March 23 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Clinicians previously believed the major health problems associated with vitamin D deficiency were rickets in children and reduced bone mineral content in adults, conditions reduced by fortifying foods with vitamin D, according to background information in the article. More recently, insufficient vitamin D levels have been associated with cancer, heart disease, infection and suboptimal health overall. Evidence suggests that levels of 30 nanograms per milliliter to 40 nanograms per milliliter may be needed for optimum health

Even a 20% reduction in the incidence of fractures still leaves a lot of people crippled and dead sooner due to lack of physical activity. So we need stem cell therapies and other rejuvenation therapies for more fundamental solutions that address all the root causes.

By Randall Parker    2009 March 24 11:29 PM   Entry Permalink | Comments (6)
2008 December 04 Thursday
Acid From Protein And Grains Increases Calcium Excretion

Bottom line: yet another reason to eat more fruits and vegetables.

Chevy Chase, MD—Diets that are high in protein and cereal grains produce an excess of acid in the body which may increase calcium excretion and weaken bones, according to a new study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM). The study found that increasing the alkali content of the diet, with a pill or through a diet rich in fruits and vegetables has the opposite effect and strengthens skeletal health.

"Heredity, diet, and other lifestyle factors contribute to the problem of bone loss and fractures," said Bess Dawson-Hughes, M.D., of Tufts University in Boston, Mass. and lead author of the study. "When it comes to dietary concerns regarding bone health, calcium and vitamin D have received the most attention, but there is increasing evidence that the acid/base balance of the diet is also important."

Most people do not eat enough vegetables. Are you like most people? Or are you special?

Either eat your veggies or take potassium bicarbonate.

Average older adults consume diets that, when metabolized, add acid to the body, said Dr. Dawson-Hughes. With aging, we become less able to excrete the acid. One way the body may counteract the acid from our diets is through bone resorption, a process by which bones are broken down to release minerals such as calcium, phosphates, and alkaline (basic) salts into the blood. Unfortunately, increased bone resorption leads to declines in bone mass and increases in fracture risk.

"When fruits and vegetables are metabolized they add bicarbonate, an alkaline compound, to the body," said Dr. Dawson Hughes. "Our study found that bicarbonate had a favorable effect on bone resorption and calcium excretion. This suggests that increasing the alkali content of the diet may attenuate bone loss in healthy older adults."

In this study, 171 men and women aged 50 and older were randomized to receive placebo or doses of either: potassium bicarbonate, sodium bicarbonate, or potassium chloride for three months. Researchers found that subjects taking bicarbonate had significant reductions in calcium excretion, signaling a decrease in bone resorption.

"In this study, we demonstrated that adding alkali in pill form reduced bone resorption and reduced the losses of calcium in the urine over a three month period," said Dr. Dawson-Hughes. "This intervention warrants further investigation as a safe and well tolerated supplement to reduce bone loss and fracture risk in older men and women."

Do you want to become like those shrunken old women who are a half a foot shorter and visibly folding inward? Or will you eat more veggies and less grain and meat?

By Randall Parker    2008 December 04 01:01 AM   Entry Permalink | Comments (5)
2008 September 29 Monday
No Joint Benefit From Glucosamine Or Chondroitin

If glucosamine and chondroitin provide any relief from osteoarthritis 572 study participants weren't enough to prove it.

The dietary supplements glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, together or alone, appeared to fare no better than placebo in slowing loss of cartilage in osteoarthritis of the knee, researchers from the Glucosamine/chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (GAIT) team report in the October issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism.[1] Interpreting the study results is complicated, however, because participants taking placebo had a smaller loss of cartilage, or joint space width, than predicted. Loss of cartilage, the slippery material that cushions the joints, is a hallmark of osteoarthritis and its loss is typically measured as a reduction in joint space width—the distance between the ends of bones in a joint as seen on an X-ray.

Rather than slowing down the decay we really need ways to stop and reverse it. Some sort of stem cell therapy is the best bet. Gene therapy might end up helping but I expect benefits from stem cells sooner. Further out nanobots will do joint repair. I hope at least one of these becomes available before any of my joints start to ache.

Glucosamine might provide a small benefit. But if glucosamine does provide a benefit it is not so large that it shouts out.

Rheumatologist Allen D. Sawitzke, M.D., associate professor of internal medicine at the University of Utah School of Medicine, was lead investigator. "At two years, no treatment achieved what was predefined to be a clinically important reduction in joint space width loss," Sawitzke said. "While we found a trend toward improvement among those with moderate osteoarthritis of the knee in those taking glucosamine, we were not able to draw any definitive conclusions."

A whole lot of people suffer pain from osteoarthritis. How many do you know that live with constant osteoarthritic pain?

More than 21 million Americans have osteoarthritis, with many taking glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, separately or in combination, to relieve pain.

By Randall Parker    2008 September 29 10:05 PM   Entry Permalink | Comments (5)
2008 June 22 Sunday
Fewer Bone Breaks With Calcium Supplementation

Since most of us do not drink milk we should consider calcium supplements.

Boosting calcium intake by drinking milk could reduce healthy adults' chances of a debilitating bone break. In a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, healthy men and women supplemented with 1,200 mg of calcium per day - the amount in four glasses of milk - reduced their risk of bone fractures by 72 percent.

An international team of researchers from University Hospital Zurich and Dartmouth Medical School divided 930 healthy men and women ages 27 to 80 into two groups for a four-year intervention study. One group was given a placebo, while the other took a daily calcium supplement containing 1,200 mg of calcium daily - the calcium recommendation for adults over the age of 51.

The researchers found that those receiving an additional 1,200 mg of calcium were significantly less likely to have a bone fracture of any sort during the four-year period, including everyday activity fractures (bone breaks that occurred while walking or standing) and seemingly unavoidable accident-related fractures (bone breaks sustained during falls, running, sports injuries or car accidents). In fact, during the four-year intervention, not a single adult receiving calcium experienced a fracture tied to everyday activities - fractures that researchers call "potentially preventable" and more likely linked to bone health.

To sustain the benefits, researchers found that the adults needed to maintain their calcium intakes. After the four-year supplementation period ended, the bone benefits dissipated, underscoring the need to adopt lifelong habits, like drinking milk, to prevent bone loss.

Don't forget the vitamin D too.

By Randall Parker    2008 June 22 02:24 PM   Entry Permalink | Comments (2)
Site Traffic Info