Here Are Two Alternatives That May Help with Osteoarthritis Pain

Janet Tiberian Author
By Janet Tiberian, MA, MPH, CHES
June 8, 2018
Fish Oil and Vitamin K Seem to Ease Arthritis Pain

Doctors typically prescribe medications, physical therapy and gentle stretches for osteoarthritis pain relieve the pain — a condition affecting millions. But alternative treatments for osteoarthritis pain, such as taking fish oil and eating foods high in vitamin K may also help, according to a meta-analysis study published in Rheumatology.

“We’ve known for a while that managing weight, avoiding tobacco and limiting alcohol can help manage osteoarthritis,” says Bernard Kaminetsky, MD, medical director, MDVIP. “However, focusing on specific nutrients is relatively new.”     

Researchers from the University of Surrey analyzed results from 68 studies that looked at lifestyle, including nutrition, as a means of easing osteoarthritis pain. Researchers found that patients who took fish oil and had diets rich in vitamin K did better than patients who did not.

How these Nutrients Relieve Osteoarthritis Pain  
Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, which helps reduce inflammation in the joints, eases pain and slows down the production of cytokines (small proteins) that breaks down cartilage. Researchers reported that one gram a day (about one and a half capsules) is effective.    

Vitamin K found in foods such as green leafy vegetables, cruciferous vegetables, pork chops, chicken, avocados and cheese is needed to produce vitamin-K dependent proteins that are found in cartilage. Researchers didn’t mention a recommended number of servings.     

The analysis also linked a high LDL (bad) cholesterol with osteoarthritis. Researchers don’t have a thorough understanding of the connection but speculate that higher cholesterol levels may:

  • Help osteophytes (small boney protrusions) form
  • Damage cartilage
  • Lower levels of proteoglycans (protein found in connective tissue)

“Eating a heart-healthy diet (fruits, vegetables and healthy fats), exercising regularly and managing stress can help keep your cholesterol in a healthy range. Your doctor can advise you if you’re a candidate for medication,” says Kaminetsky.

Before taking a supplement, making dietary changes or beginning an exercise program talk to your primary care physician. Don’t have an MDVIP-affiliated doctor? MDVIP has a nationwide network of physicians. Find one near you and begin your partnership in health »

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Study: Fish Oil Supplements Can Help Your Reduce Cardiac Risks / Louis B. Malinow, MD / March 17, 2018
Living With Chronic Pain? Learn Some Safer Alternatives to Opioids / Janet Tiberian, MA, MPH, CHES / May 25, 2016

About the Author
Janet Tiberian Author
Janet Tiberian, MA, MPH, CHES

Janet Tiberian is MDVIP's health educator. She has more than 25 years experience in chronic disease prevention and therapeutic exercise.

View All Posts By Janet Tiberian, MA, MPH, CHES
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