Is a Vitamin D Supplement Helpful in Management of Osteoarthritis?
Since Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative condition requiring long-term alleviation of pain, researchers have conducted a fair amount of studies to see which kind of pain medication those suffering from this condition should take.
One website and a few corresponding studies on it seem to suggest this. As the website states, “Vitamin D is crucial for your overall health. Among other jobs in the body, it helps maintain strong bones, regulate immune activity and reduce inflammation. Now new evidence suggests that it may have specific benefits for knee osteoarthritis. A study found that higher vitamin D levels may be associated with less cartilage loss in the knee over a three-year period….The study, conducted in Australia, included 880 randomly selected men and women between ages 51 and 79. To check for osteoarthritis, researchers looked at X-ray images of the participants’ knees. They also used MRI images to measure cartilage volume and asked participants to rate the severity of any knee pain.”
The result of this study (and another quoted on the website) was this, “People who started the study with insufficient vitamin D were more likely to have signs of knee osteoarthritis than those who got enough of the vitamin. About 40% of the people in the study also had another MRI three years later, which showed that people with higher vitamin D levels tended to have less cartilage loss — evidence that osteoarthritis had progressed less rapidly in this group.”
In the scientific and medical worlds, however, though the processes can be used with most scrutinized objectivity and clearest of intentions, there are competing evidence within the community.
Another study tested the same thing. Let’s see what they found evidence for.
The study was a 3-year, double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial of 474 patients aged over 50 with and evidence knee OA. There were groups that were given a vitamin D supplement to treat their OA and another that was given a placebo.
The objective of the study was aimed to assess whether vitamin D supplementation can slow the rate of OA progression.
Without going into its methodology, which was just as thorough and sound as those quoted about, the conclusions or evidence were quite different. The researchers maintained that “Vitamin D supplementation did not lead to…reduced pain, stiffness or functional loss over a 3-year period. On the basis of these findings we consider that vitamin D supplementation has no role in the management of knee OA.”
This may be quite confusing for the informed consumer. How can different studies have different outcomes? The truth is that studies often have these conflicting conclusions. Does that mean that one is lying and one is not?
Of course not.
Who To Believe?
If you are suffering from OA and wish to best alleviate the symptoms that come with it, the best things you can do are, 1) gather as much research as you can, 2) find a greater awareness of what is helping or not, and most importantly 3) work with a medical professional over time to help deal with your condition.
Though we as people to react to supplements and medications in a predicted pattern of ways, it is hard for one or two or 30 studies to say conclusively what is the best method of regimen for you. So don’t give up, be vigilant, and be sure to work with a medical professional.
- U, 2015 sanofi-aventis. ‘Vitamin D May Help Defend against Knee Osteoarthritis – Synvisc-One Knee Health & Diet Articles’. 2002. Accessed June 19, 2016. http://www.synviscone.com/knee-exercise-center/nutrition-and-weight-loss/vitamin-d-may-help-defend-against-knee-osteoarthritis.aspx.