Do you suffer from painful and worn-out joints? You may alleviate your problem by drastically reducing the amount of carbohydrates in your diet. That is what American researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham report in Pain Medicine. The Americans put test subjects with osteoarthritis in their knee joint on a low-carbohydrate diet for three months, and saw a significant decrease in symptoms.
StudyThe researchers divided 21 over-65s with worn-out and painful knee joints into 3 groups.
For 12 weeks the subjects in a control group continued to eat as they were used to [CTRL]. A second control group started following a low-fat weight-loss diet that delivered 800-1200 calories a day [LFD]. The experimental group switched to a low-carbohydrate diet that only delivered 20 grams of carbohydrates per day [LCD]. The test subjects in this third group were allowed to eat as much as they wanted.
ResultsThe subjects in the low carb group lost more weight than the subjects in the other groups. The subjects in the low carbohydrate group reported a significant decrease in the extent to which the pain in their worn knee hampered their daily functioning.
The subjects in the low-carb group also reported less pain when they were just sitting or getting up from their seats.
MechanismThe low-carbohydrate diet reduced the concentration of TBARS in the test subjects' blood. That is a marker of the activity of free radicals. Apparently a low carbohydrate diet activates antioxidant mechanisms in the body. The greater the decrease in TBARS, the greater the decrease in pain.
Conclusion"Our exploratory pilot study demonstrates an improvement in self-reported and functional pain in older adults with knee osteoarthritis following a low-carbohydrate diet intervention," the researchers write. "In only 12 weeks, the quality of life and functional pain of this population were significantly improved, which may have been the result of a reduction in oxidative stress."
"These preliminary data are reassuring and support the use of the low-carbohydrate diet as an effective therapeutic approach for older patients with knee osteoarthritis."