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Selenium lowers the risk of osteoarthritis of the knee

Nov 15, 2005

Arthritis affects one third of the adult population in the USA and it is the most common cause of disability in individuals over the age of 15. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and it is becoming nightmarishly more common with the aging of the population and increasing rates of obesity. In osteoarthritis the cartialge that covers the ends of the bones in the joints deteriorates causing pain and loss of mobility as bone begins to rub on bone.

In a part of China where selenium is severly deficient people often develop Kashin Beck disease which causes joint problems relatively early in life. Using this as a clue, researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, looked into a possible connection between low levels of selenium and osteoarthritis. In their study, 940 people were split into 3 groups checking the level of selenium in their toenail. Using blood gives you a brief glimpse into mineral levels but checking toenail concentrations gives you a much longer history of selenium intake.

It was found that for every fraction of a percentage increase in selenium levels the risk of developing osteoarthritis of the knee decreased by 15 to 20%. Those with the highest levels of selenium had a 40% drop in their risk of developing osteoarthritis of the knees. The benefit and protection was even greater for African Americans and women. The study will be presented this week at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology in San Diego.

Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.

Hopefully none of us will encounter an agent as destructive as mustard gas, but it is good for us to note that these particular antioxidants are very lung friendly and that available oral supplement levels have shown protective activity in research.

Chamomile helps with nervousness, muscle spasms and many other conditions

Research shows that German Chamomile is a very useful herb. It benefits individuals with stress, even with anxiety, maybe even the chemically dependent, and according to these researchers at the Imperial College in London it is useful for much more. In a small study that included both women and men given Chamomile for two weeks, they found that levels of components associated with boosting the ability of the immune system to fight a cold improved. Chamomile also improved levels of components that calm muscle spasms and the types of pain a woman experiences during her period. It also relaxes nerves. The study is published in the January 26th, 2005 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.