Supplementation with ASU, an extract of avocado and soy, may ease problems with worn joints. A Danish meta-study with this outcome was published in 2008.
ASUIn the Polish trial we wrote about last week, ASU halved the problems of people with worn knee weight. It's just a shame that the researchers had conveniently left out the control group.
But the open Polish trial is not the only study that concludes that ASU, an extract of avocado and soy, may really mean something for people with worn-out joints. In 2008, Danish scientists published a meta-study to the same effect.
StudyThe Danes, affiliated with Frederiksberg Hospital, collected 4 trials that compared the effect of a daily supplementation with 300 milligrams of ASU with that of a placebo. The duration of the studies ranged from 3 to 12 months.
All studies were funded by French Expanscience Laboratoires, the creator and manufacturer of the original ASU. Half a dozen ASU clones have now appeared on the market, but we are not talking about those products.
In the trials, the researchers had determined the severity of the condition of the subjects with a worn hip or knee by having the subjects fill in the Lequesne index. This questionnaire measures how much pain the subjects experience on a daily basis, and what they can and cannot do anymore.
If you score 0 on the Lequesne index, then there is no question of a handicap. A score of 1-4 represents a minor disability, a score of 8-10 represents a severe disability, and scores of 14 or higher represent an extreme disability.
ResultsWhen the researchers pieced together the results of the trials, they found a significant and positive effect on joint health. It wasn't overly big, but hey, it was there.
When the Danes took a closer look at their results, it became clear that the subjects with a worn knee benefited from the supplement. However, according to the data from the studies, the effect on the subjects with a worn hip was inconclusive. You can see this above.
The longer the supplementation lasted, the greater the effect.
Conclusion"We suggest that ASUs are no worse and no better for treatment of osteoarthritis than other medications", conclude the Danes. "As there is no evidence of significant adverse effects of ASU, patients may be recommended to give ASU a chance for e.g., 3 months, after which a balanced review of the individual effect is necessary."
Another meta-studyIn 2019, 11 years after the publication of the Danish meta-study, Mexican doctors published another meta-study on the effects and safety of ASU. Their results matched those of the Danes. [Int J Rheum Dis. 2019 Sep;22(9):1607-15.]