Low-carbohydrate diet may improve arthritis symptoms says new study

knee pain diet, low-carb diet, arthritis diet, arthritis food, low-carbohydrate dietA low-carbohydrate diet could relieve the pain of knee osteoarthritis, according to exciting new research in Pain Medicine.

Almost 9 million people in the UK have osteoarthritis, which is one of the leading causes of disability in older adults. There are few treatments; pain is treated with painkillers and anti-inflammatory medication, and sometimes joint replacements are the only option.

There is a definite need for alternative forms of pain management for people with osteoarthritis, so a team set out to look at if a dietary intervention could make a difference in adults aged 65 years to 75 years with knee osteoarthritis.

The volunteers were asked to follow one of three diets for 12 weeks:

  • Low-carbohydrate;
  • Low-fat;
  • Eat as usual.

Functional pain, self-reported pain, quality of life and depression were assessed every three weeks. Serum from before and after the diet intervention was analysed for oxidative stress.

Key findings

Throughout the study people who followed the low-carbohydrate diet had reduced pain intensity, experienced less unpleasantness in some functional pain tasks and had lower levels of self-reported pain than those in the low fat-diet group, and the people who ate as usual. The low-carbohydrate diet also reduced oxidative stress and leptin (known as the obesity hormone) compared with the other two groups.

The authors of the study conclude:

“We present evidence suggesting that oxidative stress may be related to functional pain, and lowering it through our low-carbohydrate diet intervention could provide relief from pain and be an opioid alternative.”

Click here to read the original research findings.

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