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A dietary supplement - hyaluronic acid (HA) - brings some pain relief to people with knee arthritis, preliminary research shows.
The natural substance HA is usually found in the body and it lubricates and cushions the joints. HA injections directly into the knee joint are sometimes used to treat more-severe cases of arthritis.
The new study, reported in Nutrition Journal, looked at whether an oral HA supplement might help relieve pain in people with less-than-severe knee arthritis. The supplement, like the products used for injections, contains HA extracted from chicken combs.
Researchers found that among 20 adults with knee arthritis, those who took the HA supplement for eight weeks reported greater pain relief and improvements in physical function than those who were given inactive, placebo pills. The findings are evidence that oral HA supplements are beneficial as an additional treatment for people with painful knee arthritis. Past research has found that oral HA is "bioavailable" -- meaning the substance can be absorbed and used by the body. The study is published online ahead of print in the January 21, 2008 issue of Nutrition Journal.
Vitamin B6 levels low in rheumatoid arthritis
Women with rheumatoid arthritis are deficient in vitamin B6 compared to their healthy peers and they also have elevated levels of homocysteine, a type of amino acid intermediary that has been linked to heart attacks and strokes, new research shows.
The vitamin B6 deficit appears to be the result of altered metabolism, not reduced dietary intake, according to the report. The results also indicate that as vitamin B6 levels drop and homocysteine levels rise, disability status worsens. Furthermore, through mechanisms that are still not totally clear, homocysteine increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Numerous reports have shown that rheumatoid arthritis patients are at risk for early death from cardiovascular disease, the authors of the research point out. The reason for the elevated risk, however, has been unclear since there is evidence that traditional cardiovascular risk factors, such as high cholesterol levels, are no more common in arthritis patients than in healthy individuals.
Findings from several studies have indicated that homocysteine metabolism is altered with rheumatoid arthritis, which may in turn relate to changes in how vitamin B6 is processed. Typically as vitamin B6 levels fall, homocysteine levels increase. The study is published in the March 2008 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.