Millions of women around the world struggle to perform life's most basic functions because of osteoarthritis, which is the leading cause of chronic disability in the United States.
However, researchers at King's College in London and the University of East Anglia have found that a controlled diet can help prevent symptoms of hip osteoarthritis in women. The findings, which were published in the journal BMC Muscuskeletal Disorders, revealed that females who consume a diet high in allium vegetables — such as garlic, onions and leeks — are less likely to develop the condition than other women.
The team of researchers studied more than 1,000 healthy female twins, many of whom had no symptoms of arthritis. They discovered that those who consumed a healthy diet with a high intake of fruits and vegetables, particularly alliums such as garlic, showed fewer signs of early osteoarthritis in the hip joint.
Furthermore, researchers investigated the compounds found in garlic and concluded that diallyl disulphide in the vegetable limits the amount of cartilage-damaging enzymes when introduced to a human cartilage cell-line in a laboratory.
"Many researchers have tried to find dietary components influencing the condition, but this is the first large scale study of diet in twins," said Frances Williams, a co-author of the research. "If our results are confirmed by follow-up studies, this will point the way towards dietary intervention or targeted drug therapy for people with osteoarthritis."