The most common joint disease among Americans, osteoarthritis is a condition where the natural cushioning between joints – the cartilage – wears away. Because symptom management is often ineffective and joint replacement is invasive surgery, many osteoarthritis suffers seek natural approaches. Grapes are rich in anti-inflammatory polyphenols, compounds that have been shown to reduce inflammation. Shanil Juma, from Texas Woman's University (Texas, USA), and colleagues conducted a sixteen week clinical study, in which 72 men and women with knee osteoarthritis were assigned to either consume grapes in the form of a whole grape freeze-dried powder, or a placebo powder. The data revealed that both men and women consuming a grape-enriched diet had a significant decrease in self-reported pain related to activity and an overall decrease in total knee symptoms – notably, improved joint flexibility and overall mobility. This beneficial effect was more pronounced in females. Additionally, age-related differences were observed: there was a 70% increase in very hard activity for those under 64 years of age consuming the grape powder, while those receiving the placebo reported a significant decrease in very hard activity. Attributing these observed benefits to the polyphenols found in grapes, the lead investigator comments that: "These findings provide promising data that links grape consumption to two very important outcomes for those living with knee osteoarthritis: reduced pain and improvements in joint flexibility.”
Rebecca Small, Casey Tiernan, Young Hoo Kwon, Rene Paulson, Victorine Imrhan, Shanil Juma, et al. “Age-associated effect of freeze-dried grape powder on inflammatory markers and physical activity in adults with knee osteoarthritis” [Abstract 1025.8]. FASEB J., April 2014; 28:1025.8.
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