Garlic Compounds show Some Protection from Painful Osteoarthritis

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

Eating a healthy diet that includes allium containing vegetables, such as garlic, onions and leeks could protect women from developing painful osteoarthritis, suggested by researchers at King's College London and the University of East Anglia.

Compound in Garlic and Other Vegetables Isolated that could Stave off Osteoarthritis

Understanding risk factors for osteoarthritis that affects more women than men after age 55 has not been completely understood. Often, the cause is unknown. Being overweight increases the chances of developing the disease that is characterized by deep joint pain that worsens with activity. As the condition worsens, pain can occur during rest. For the current study, researchers isolated a compound in allium containing vegetables that might be abe to stave off cartiage destruction that occurs with osteoarthritis.

The current study was conducted to find out if diet could prevent osteoarthritis that can lead to disability, fall risk and need for joint replacement surgery. The researchers conducted a study of twins, finding a diet high in garlic compounds delayed osteoarthritis of the hip, shown on x-rays and matched with a detailed assessment of diet. Painful osteoarthritis commonly affects the knees, hips and back and is a leading cause of knee and hip replacement surgery.


The study included 1,000 healthy female twins without symptoms of arthritis. The researchers then looked closely at allium compounds in garlic, isolating a compound called diallyl disulphide that the researchers say limited the amount of cartilage-damaging enzymes in lab cells.

Professor Ian Clark of the University of East Anglia said, "Osteoarthritis is a major health issue and this exciting study shows the potential for diet to influence the course of the disease. With further work to confirm and extend these early findings, this may open up the possibility of using diet or dietary supplements in the future treatment osteoarthritis."

The researchers aren’t sure if eating garlic would lead to enough diallyl disulphide in the joints to stave off arthritis. The current study suggest consuming a diet rich in allium compounds that include garlic, leeks and onions could protect women from osteoarthritis, but the study paves the way for more research.

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2010, 11:280doi:10.1186/1471-2474-11-280