In osteoarthritis, the cartilage in the affected joint is gradually destroyed, resulting in stiffness and loss of mobility. Rheumatologists recommend taking anti-inflammatory drugs when the joint is too painful. An effective treatment, but which only has a one-off effect.
At the present time, the management of osteoarthritis is essentially based on lifestyle advice in order to provide patients with lasting relief. THE‘physical activity, adapted to the physical capacities of each person, is one of the main recommendations.
THE’food, as for it, occupies a more modest place for lack of scientific data.
“We have no proof that an anti-inflammatory diet can play a role in osteoarthritis,” observes Dr Jean-Michel Lecerf, head of the Nutrition and Physical Activity department at the Institut Pasteur in Lille.
Does Losing Weight Reduce Joint Pain?
The only certainty is that it is very important to maintain a normal weight to protect your joints. Losing even 4 to 5 pounds is enough to relieve osteoarthritis. This is demonstrated in theknee osteoarthritis in particular, but also in thehand osteoarthritis. The effect is both mechanical (it is easily understood in the knee since the joint has less weight to bear), but it is also physiological. In overweight people, adipose tissue secretes mediators that increase sensitivity to pain, as well as pro-inflammatory molecules that only worsen joint damage.
Should we favor the Mediterranean diet?
Some studies suggest that eating according to the principles of the Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of inflammatory rheumatism, such as rheumatoid arthritis. The mechanism is said to be both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. But the demonstration has not been made in osteoarthritis.
the mediterranean diet remains, however, widely recommended by doctors because it helps to maintain good health and is found cardiovascular protective. In practice, menus must give a large place to whole grains, fruits and vegetables, fish and olive oil. Conversely, we cut down on meat, cold cuts and ready-made meals from industrial production.
Omega-3s: what anti-inflammatory efficacy in osteoarthritis?
Omega-3s are polyunsaturated fatty acids found in oily fish, but also in rapeseed oil or nuts.
Their nutritional value is recognized in cardiovascular prevention, against cerebral aging and depression. Their anti-inflammatory action could be of interest in osteoarthritis, “But we do not have any evidence of efficacy on the clinical signs of the disease”, underlines Dr Lecerf. For the general population, the National Health Nutrition Program recommends eat fish twice a week, including fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, sardines, anchovies, etc.) for its omega-3 intake.
Can we eat dairy products?
the milk, the yogurts and the cheese have the reputation of being pro-inflammatory. There is nothing to prove it but, when in doubt, some patients with osteoarthritis prefer to avoid them. However, this is a bad calculation.
“Some studies show rather a beneficial effect of dairy products, in particular in gonarthrosis (osteoarthritis of the knee, Editor’s note) with less progression of the disease”, underlines the nutritionist doctor.
For him, dairy products (rich in calcium and other nutrients) remain essential for the good healthy bones, muscles and joints. The current recommendation is to consume two per day.
Do probiotics help reduce inflammation?
According to a popular hypothesis, a dgut microbiota imbalance could promote inflammation in the body and thus worsen the process of destruction of cartilage, characteristic of osteoarthritis. Hence the idea of offering patients probiotic food supplements, in order to restore their intestinal flora. But what is their real effectiveness?
Which probiotic strains should I recommend?
To date, no study has provided a reliable answer to these questions. However, Dr. Lecerf does not rule out the hypothesis of probiotics. “The microbiota certainly plays an important role in health. It may have a role in inflammation. But we have no data on osteoarthritis ”, he explains. For him, the best probiotics remain yogurts, which meets the recommendations on the consumption of dairy products.
Does the gluten-free diet have an interest in osteoarthritis?
Like milk, the gluten found in some cereals (wheat, rye, etc.) arouses suspicion in some people with osteoarthritis. But there is no scientific argument for asserting that gluten food worsens joint pain. “Some people who are hypersensitive to gluten (without having celiac disease) complain of muscle symptoms. They can be improved when they stop gluten. But these symptoms are more like fibromyalgia. They are different from osteoarthritis ”, underlines Dr Lecerf.
the Seignalet diet recommends a diet free of dairy products and gluten to relieve painful joints. But, to date, no scientific study has proven its effectiveness.