December 6 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Scientists at the University of East Anglia say they have made a major breakthrough in the fight against the most common form of arthritis after new research found that eating broccoli could help prevent or slow the progress of osteoarthritis.
Broccoli has been described as a “super food” after previous research found that it has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties.
Researchers at the UEA have now found that a compound found in the green vegetable could help slow down the destruction of cartilage in joints associated with the painful and debilitating condition.
Scientists fed mice a diet rich in sulforaphane as part of the study and found that the animals fed the compound had significantly less cartilage damage and osteoarthritis than those that were not. Sulforaphane is released when eating vegetables such as Brussels sprouts and cabbage, but particularly broccoli.
Researchers from the School of Biological Sciences and Norwich Medical School are now embarking on a small scale trial in osteoarthritis patients due to have knee replacement surgery, to see if eating broccoli has similar effects on the human joint.
The study was funded by charity Arthritis Research UK, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council’s Diet and Health Research Industry Club and the Dunhill Medical Trust.
Ian Clark, professor of musculoskeletal biology at UEA and the lead researcher, said: “The results from this study are very promising. We have shown that this works in the three laboratory models we have tried, in cartilage cells, tissue and mice. We now want to show this works in humans. It would be very powerful if we could.
“As well as treating those who already have the condition, you need to be able to tell healthy people how to protect their joints into the future. There is currently no way in to the disease pharmaceutically and you cannot give healthy people drugs unnecessarily, so this is where diet could be a safe alternative.
More than 8.5m people in the UK have osteoarthritis and according to Arthritis Research UK, the annual cost of the condition to the NHS is £5.2bn. In 2011, more than 77,000 knee and 66,000 hip replacements were carried out due to osteoarthritis.
Prof Clark added: “This study is important because it is about how diet might work in osteoarthritis. Once you know that you can look at other dietary compounds which could protect the joint and ultimately you can advise people what they should be eating for joint health. Developing new strategies for combating age-related diseases such as osteoarthritis is vital, both to improve the quality of life for sufferers and to reduce the economic burden on society.”