Nutrition and diet play several important roles in the management of knee arthritis.


Knee osteoarthritis and weight reduction

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It has been medically shown that even modest weight loss makes a big difference to knee pain, as for each unit of weight lost there is a four-fold decrease in the unit of load on the knee.

As osteoarthritis of the knee often has a physical originating cause (eg. meniscal tear), it is obvious that even small people may suffer from arthritis. Being overweight, however, simply puts more strain on the joints and most sensible weight reduction regimes will benefit arthritis sufferers

You can check your ideal weight on average height and weight charts.

Obesity and increased burden of hip and knee joint disease in Australia: Results from a national survey. Ackerman IN and Osborne RH. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2012; 13: 254.

Obesity and osteoarthritis: more complex than predicted!. Pottie P, Presle N, Terlain B, Netter P, Mainard D and Berenbaum F. Ann Rheum Dis. 2006 Nov; 65(11): 1403–1405.


Anti-inflammatory fruits for arthritis

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Commonly available fruits, such as blueberries, raspberries and strawberries, and pomegranates have been shown to reduce arthritis pain and inflammation and are rich sources of several dietary bioactive compounds. Pomegranates appear to be particularly relevant. Olives and olive oil are also useful.

Dietary fruits and arthritis. Arpita Basu A, Schell J and Scofield RH. Food Funct. 2018 Jan 24; 9(1): 70–77.


Osteoarthritis and dietary supplements

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Certain supplements are of particular interest in arthritis -

  • omega 3 fatty acids - are known to reduce the production of inflammatory substances in the body. 2-4 gm per day are recommended. They are commonly obtained from fish oils such as cod liver oil, but vegetarian sources, eg walnuts, are also readily available.
  • glucosamine - recommended at doses of 1,500 mg per day, glucosamine appears to enhance cartilage production and reduce arthritic pain
  • chondroitin sulphate - recommended at doses of 1,200 mg a day. Appears to slow cartilage breakdown and also reduce arthritic pain.
  • MSM

A combination of glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM is the most economical way to take the last three supplements. The tablets can be quite large and a liquid drink is a palatable alternative.

Effects of glucosamine in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Ogata T et al. Clin Rheumatol. 2018; 37(9): 2479–2487.


Smoking and osteoarthritis

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The relationship of smoking and osteoarthritis is unclear, but there seems to be an inverse relationship - that is, smoking may confer some protective effect against developing knee arthritis.

Smoking and osteoarthritis: a review of the evidence and its implications. Felson DT and Zhang Y. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2015 Mar; 23(3): 331–333.

Association between smoking and risk of knee osteoarthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Kong L, Wang L, Meng F, Cao J and Shen Y. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2017 Jun;25(6):809-816. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2016.12.020. Epub 2016 Dec 21.