Vitamin D protects joints from arthritic inflammation, says new report

Los Angeles: The miracle of Vitamin D’s protection to the body continues – scientists have now found that it also helps prevent inflammation in joints.

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The discovery was made by scientists at the University of Florida who reviewed the blood vitamin D levels and health of 45 African American and 49 Caucasians between 45 and 71 years of age with osteoarthritis of the knee. The reason for looking at the two different ethnicities was because African Americans tend to have lower vitamin D levels.

Lead researcher, Toni Glover said the study examined the theory of whether long term micronutrient deficiencies trigger chronic inflammation. In turn, chronic inflammation leads to chronic health conditions, many of which are characterized by pain as a disabling symptom. 
African American participants reported more pain in comparison with Caucasian subjects. While half of the Caucasian participants had vitamin D levels that were lower than 30 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL), these insufficient levels occurred in 84 percent of the African Americans. Average Caucasian vitamin D levels were 28.2 ng/mL, in contrast with 19.9 ng/mL among African Americans. “People associate vitamin D with good bone health,” stated Glover, who is a research nurse practitioner and doctoral candidate at the University of Florida. “Yet, not everyone is aware of what factors decrease vitamin D and how low levels could contribute to health issues, including chronic pain.”
“Our data demonstrate that differences in experimental pain sensitivity between the two races are mediated at least in part by variations in vitamin D levels,” she concluded. “However, further studies are needed to fully understand the link between low vitamin D levels and racial disparities in pain. Although rare, vitamin D toxicity is possible and older adults should consult with their primary care provider regarding supplementation. It may be warranted that older black Americans with chronic widespread pain be screened for vitamin D deficiency to reduce disparities in pain.”
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Over the counter painkillers linked to heart problems


pillsPainkillers such as Ibruprofen, which is commonly used to reduce pain caused by inflammation, have been linked to increased risk of heart disease.

NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are recommended to patients suffering from Osteoarthritis and other painful conditions associated with inflammation, but new research has now linked these to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.
The researchers have now warned GPs to take cardiovascular risk into account with each individual patient before recommending the use of NSAIDs.
In 2004, a new generation anti-inflammatory drug, the COX-2 inhibitor rofecoxib was withdrawn from the market after a trial found that it was linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease. This sparked a wide debate over the safety of such anti-inflammatory drugs, especially in those patients already at increased risk of developing heart disease.
The ongoing debate led researchers in Switzerland to perform a full analysis of all trials comparing NSAIDs with non NSAIDs or placebos – a total of 31 trials and 116,429 people taking 7 different drugs.
However, the researchers found that although the number of cardiovascular events occurring during the trials were low, they do not consider this to be proof of the drugs being safe to take when already at increased risk of heart problems or stroke – which applies to many patients suffering from musculoskeletal problems.
When compared with placebo, rofecoxib and lumiracoxib were associated with more than twice the risk of heart attack, while ibubrofen was associated with more than three times the risk of stroke. Etoricoxib and diclofenac were associated with the highest risk of cardiovascular death – around four times the risk when compared with the placebo results.
Naproxen appeared the least harmful of the 7 drugs involved in the analysis.
The results of this research indicate that more research needs to be done on this issue, given the risks involved and the regular recommendation of these drugs. It is clear that alternatives to the traditional anti-imflammatory drugs need to be evaluated and promoted.
Perhaps a worrying outcome of this study is its links to aspirin – also an NSAID – which is recommended to people attempting to keep their heart healthy. A clear guide to the NSAIDs would benefit the public and enable people suffering from Osteoarthritis and joint pain to have more say in their treatment.
If you want to find out more about all the NSAIDs, please visit the NHS link below;

Exercise trial for arthritis pain


Toronto : Certain types of exercise can help reduce the pain and symptoms of knee arthritis.

Now a $5million study of the benefits of exercise is looking to recruit Canadians with osteo-arthritic knee pain for further research to be carried out at the University of Calgary’s Sport Medicine Centre.

Andrew Marsh, a master’s student co-ordinating the active aspect of the study, says the project will further test the theory that exercise aids in the treatment of the condition.

The is being funded by the Alberta Heritage Fund for Medical Research, and is a free, supervised, three-month exercise program open to individuals over the age of 40. Those who are younger and living with osteoarthritic pain due to past surgeries may also qualify.

Over six per cent of Canadian adults over 30 experience osteoarthritis, and by age 65, that number jumps to 11 per cent.

Co-ordinators and specialists will follow the activity and personal experiences by participants, who must be committed to exercising over the 12 weeks, most of which can be conducted at home. No heavy weights are involved and everyone will receive the necessary training and equipment.

The exercises will focus on various areas of the lower body, including the hips and thighs, which lend support to knees.

Since osteoarthritis is a gradual progression with often subtle signs of pain or immobility, and key to reducing pain is to increase strength around the joint and within the core so the body is better able to move.

The potential for this study to branch out into other areas of health care is exciting and far reaching, adds Ferber.

“This is unique because we’re doing a whole body study and that’s ever been done before,” he says. “Once the results are published, the knowledge can then be used to help patients and inform physicians, and therapists.”

For more information about participating in the study, call + 1 403-220-3523 or e-mail

MRI scans give early arthritis alert


New York: MRI-like scanners can detect the debilitating disease, osteoarthritis, at a stage when it can be treated with nutraceuticals, a conference has been told.

The test, a form of the MRI scan used in hospitals every day, could catch osteoarthritis when it is still in the early stages, preventing or reducing damage to the joints.

Treatment usually consists of a powerful drugs with horrible side-effects, physiotherapy and, in some cases, replacement of the affected knee, hip or other joint.

Normally doctors relying on physical examinations and X-rays for diagnosis, which means the disease it not caught early enough.

Osteoarthritis damages the cushioning material between the bones including cartilage.

Researcher Dr Alexej Jerschow, of New York University, used the MRI scanner to measure levels of glycosaminoglycan, the compound that makes the cartilage tough and elastic.

Frankincense found to ease arthritis pain

Los Angeles: Francincense contains an extract that may ease the symptoms of oesteoarthritis.

Results of a human trial published in the Journal of Arthritis Research and Therapy compared the extract to a dummy drug in patients with mild to moderate arthritis. Those taking the treatment reported less pain and better mobility after just seven days.

Indian frankincense is the resin which leaks out of the Boswellia Serrata tree and has been used in ancient Hindu medicine for centuries. It comes from a slightly different tree to the biblical frankinsence but this also has been found to have anti-inflammatory properties.

The research involved randomly giving 70 people a high dose, low dose, or dummy drug each day for 90 days. Their pain and physical function was evaluated before the trial began and at intervals using standard and accepted methods.

The treatment was well tolerated and the authors concluded it was safe.

Lead author Siba Raychaudhuri, a faculty member of the University of California, Davis, in America. According to Raychaudhuri, said: “The high incidence of adverse affects associated with currently available medications has created great interest in the search for an effective and safe alternative treatment.”

The study was funded by Laila Impex Research and Development Centre in India which is connected to Lalia Nutraceuticals which have created the drug and the study authors are consultants for the company.

Rosehips the new superfood for joints

London: Rosehips are the new superfood, according to a new study from Denmark.

The rosehip which is packed with vitamin C also contains another compound which reduces inflammation in joints.

The study was carried out by researchers at the Frederiksberg Hospital in Copenhagen, said they could have a ‘wide therapeutic effect’.

The reddish-orange fruit has more than ten times the vitamin C content of oranges and was used by Vikings to present scurvy on their long sea voyages.

It was also given to millions of children during and after World War ll to compensate for a lack of vitamins in the rationed diet.

The Danish research found than 80 per cent of the osteoarthritis sufferers who took part found rosehip extract helped ease their pain within three weeks.

After three months they noticed a significant decrease in the stiffness of their joints, making movement easier.

Smoking makes osteo-arthritis worse

Rochester: Smokers risk more painful and progressive osteoarthritis, according to new research carried out by the Mayo Clinic in the US.

In a new study to be published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 159 men who had osteoarthritis of the knees were monitored for up to 30 months. The affected knees were scanned and the severity of pain scored. The men were monitored and again at 15 and 30 months.

Of the total, 12% (19) were active smokers at the start of the study. They smoked an average of 20 cigarettes a day and had done so for around 40 years.

Smokers tended to be younger and thinner, both factors that normally protect against osteoarthritis.

But the smokers were more than twice as likely to have a significant degree of cartilage loss compared with the non-smokers. Cartilage is the rubbery tissue that cushions bones at the joint.

Smokers were also significantly more likely to report greater pain severity.

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint condition, which commonly affects the knees and fingers. Knee osteoarthritis is one of the leading causes of disability among elderly people.

The authors suggest that smoking may alter the pain threshold. It also increases the levels of toxic substances in the blood and starves tissues of oxygen, which may hasten the loss of cartilage.

Osteoarthritis may signal faster “biological ageing”

London: Osteoarthritis, the degenerative inflammatory bone disease, may be a sign of faster “biological ageing,” suggests research published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

The finds resulted from a study of 1100 people, aged between 30 and 79. Most of them were female twins who were evaluated by the Twin Reserach and Epidemiology Unit and Kings College London.

X-rays of both hands were taken of all participants to check for signs of osteoarthritis and a blood sample was taken to assess “biological ageing” in white cell DNA.

Biological ageing is likely to be reflected by the gradual shortening of telomeres, the length of DNA which caps the tips of chromosomes. A host of factors make them shorten over time, including insufficient repair of the damage caused by oxygen free radicals (oxidative stress).

Oxygen free radicals are the unstable molecules produced as a by-product of normal bodily processes, as well as external factors, such as tobacco, alcohol, and sunlight.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, with the hands being one of the sites most often affected. Its frequency rises dramatically with age, but it is still not known exactly what causes it.

Unsurprisingly, the findings showed that white cell telomere lengths were associated with chronological age. The older a person was, the shorter they were.

But among the 160 people with hand osteoarthritis, the telomere length was significantly shorter than among those without the disease, even after taking account of influential factors, such as obesity, age, sex, and smoking.

All those with hand osteoarthritis were over 50, and the amount of telomere shortening was equivalent to that accrued over 11 years in healthy people (178 base pairs).

Telomere length was also significantly associated with the severity of osteoarthritis. The more severe the disease, the shorter was the telomere length.

The authors suggest that both the ageing process and osteoarthritis share biological factors in common, including oxidative stress and low level chronic inflammation.

Rose-hip – a new hope for sufferers of joint pain and osteoarthritis

London: Rose-hip can help alleviate joint pain in patients with knee, hip, and hand osteoarthritis, according to latest research.

In the study, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial published in the Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology (Aug 2005)1, 82% of patients reported a reduction in pain after 3 weeks of active treatment with GOPO – the active compound isolated from Rosa canina, a type of rose-hip.

The research could give new hope to the 9 million people in the UK who suffer from painful joints2 due to arthritis and related conditionsbut who are keen to maintain an active life. In comparison, one of the largest long-term studies on glucosamine3, currently the most popular supplement for joint health, showed only a 40% response rate to treatment and that it took up to 12 weeks before the subjects reported feeling improvement.

The research also found that GOPO alleviated pain to an extent that therewas a significant reduction in the consumption of traditional painkillers such as paracetamol, ibuprofen, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs(NSAID’s) – a key benefit not observed in studies on glucosamine. Although typical treatments for the pain and inflammation caused by arthritis, NSAID’s can cause serious side effects if used over a prolonged period including abdominal pain, heartburn, nausea, and vomiting.

“I was very interested to see the results of this research, which show
rose-hip extract to have a very quick effect in reducing osteoarthritic pain in the hip, knee, and hand. This study suggests that rose-hip extract offers potential relief from pain for osteoarthritis sufferers, without theside effects that are often found with conventional anti-inflammatorydrugs or pain killers”, says Dr Rod Hughes, Consultant Rheumatologist at St Peter’s Hospital in Surrey.

The study, recently presented at the 10th World Congress on Arthritis in December 2005, is a continuation of extensive research into anti-inflammatory efficacy of GOPO in osteoarthritis. The Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology is one of the leading international journals in the field of arthritis and rheumatology. Unfortunately due to the drying process that is needed to isolate the active anti-inflammatory compound from the sub-species of rose-hip, GOPO is not available in a normal diet and can only be taken in the form of a food supplement. LitoZin Joint Health, from Lanes, is the only supplement containing GOPO and is specifically formulated for maintaining joint health.

LitoZin Joint Health is available in Boots, independent pharmacies and
health food stores, and is priced at £19.99 for 120 capsules. For more
information on LitoZin Joint Health, please see For more information on arthritis, please see Arthritis Care
( ) and Arthritis Research Campaign (

About Lanes G R Lane Health Products Ltd (Lanes) is one of the major natural medicine companies in the UK and manufactures well-known products such as Olbas,Kalms, Quiet Life and Aquaban. Established in the 1930’s by Gilbert Lane – an early supporter of the ideathat we can improve our health through diet and the use of carefully selected plants and nutrients – Lanes remains a family owned business and is chaired by Gilbert’s grand-daughter, Janet Lane. References 1 A powder made from seeds and shells of a rose-hip subspecies (Rosa canina l.) reduces symptoms of knee and hip osteoarthritis: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, Scand J Rheumatol 34:302-308, July – August 2005 by Winther, K. Apel, K and Thomsborg,G., 2 Statistics from the Arthritis Research Campaign 3 Long term effects of glucosamine sulfate on osteoarthritis progression: a randomised, placebo-controlled clinical trial JY. Reginster , R. Deroisy , LC. Deroisy, et al., Lancet , 2001, vol. 357, pp. 251—256)

Red wine may help osteoarthritis

San Diego: Scientists have discovered that resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant found in red wine, appears to stop the damage caused to cartilage in osteoarthritis.

During laboratory experiments, tissue was taken from patients undergoing knee replacement surgery and cells were exposed to small doses of resveratrol. The results,presented at a recent American College Of Rheumatology meeting in San Diego, showed the wine chemical protected cells in the knee joint against further damage.

Osteoarthritis develops when cartilage becomes roughened and thin. In a healthy joint, the cartilage acts as a cushion, spreading forces evenly when pressure is applied. Its smooth, slippery surface also allows the bones to move freely. The cartilage stays slippery and smooth thanks to a thick fluid — called synovial fluid — produced by a membrane that surrounds the joint.

But if the cartilage breaks down, usually through wear and tear, the bone underneath starts to thicken and the joint becomes inflamed. In severe cases, the bones grind together, which can be extremely painful.

Treatments range from painkilling creams and pills to steroid injections, designed to curb the swelling inside the joint. But many people end up on a waiting list for replacement joints.

The latest findings from the New York University of Medicine may have found a new treatment based on red wine, although the research is still at a very early stage.

In the new study into resveratrol’s effects on osteoarthritis, tiny samples of cartilage taken from damaged knee joints were combined with the antioxidant compound.

The results showed it slashed production of chemicals that cause inflammation in the joints by between 50 and 90 per cent.

It also stimulated production of key proteins that make up an important part of the connective tissue in the joints.

Red wine also contains polyphenrols which reduce the amount of bad LDL cholesterol in the arteries and increase the levels of protective HDL cholesterol. This means blood is less likely to clot, which can lead to a stroke or heart attack.

The anti-oxidants in red wine -tannin and resveratrol – also help guard against cancer and slow tumour growth.

Studies have shown that a glass a day could be effective against lung cancer.