According to a new study, vitamin D supplements don’t have a pain-relieving effect on knee osteoarthritis, nor do they slow the progression of the condition.
Osteoarthritis is a progressive disease that causes loss of cartilage, and so far, there’s no treatment on the market to stop the advancement of the disease. As discovered by the Australian researchers, many patients need knee replacements down the line.
Lead researcher Dr. Changhai Ding, a professor at the University of Tasmania in Hobart, said the results of the study suggest that vitamin D supplementation does not slow disease progression, and it doesn’t assist in halting the structural change in knee osteoarthritis.
Studies have showed conflicting results regarding the use of vitamin D supplements as pain relievers and in the slowing of the progression of knee osteoarthritis; the matter has been controversial in the past.
However, this new study has tested the powers of the vitamin D supplements by randomly assigning them to some osteoarthritis patients while others were put on a placebo. Ding’s team found that “vitamin D failed to have any beneficial effect.”
About 10 percent and 13 percent of women aged 60 and older are affected by knee osteoarthritis, according to the information presented in the report. The findings were featured Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Some experts expected these results; Dr. Neil Roth, an orthopedic surgeon at Lenox Hill Hospital in NYC, said that considering the progressive character of osteoarthritis, medication can do little to alter the disease. Except for performing a joint replacement, doctors can only hope to modify some of the symptoms.
At the moment, the best we can do for osteoarthritis patients is prescribe them painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs, and cortisone injections. Roth mentioned any of these therapies would only relieve the pain as they cannot stop the disease from worsening.
For the study, researchers followed 400 patients with knee osteoarthritis for over two years; they couldn’t see any difference between the sufferers who took vitamin D supplements and those who were on a placebo.
They measured the therapies’ efficiency in terms of loss of cartilage, reduced pain, or improvement in bone marrow in the shin or thigh bone. The authors mentioned this study does not mean to say that vitamin D doesn’t have its role in some aspects of bone health – it just doesn’t help with osteoarthritis.
Roth added that “vitamin D is an essential part of any well-balanced diet,” which means both men and women should maintain appropriate levels of vitamin D for the health of bone mass.
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