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April 2016

Knee Arthritis Not Helped by Vitamin D

Vitamin D is important for good bone health. But it doesn’t help relieve pain or slow down osteoarthritis of the knee.

Older man holding a knee as he walks down stairs

That’s the conclusion of a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Knee arthritis affects about 1 in 10 men and 13 in 100 women ages 60 and older. It is a progressive disease. This means it gradually gets worse. Currently, no treatment is available to stop the disease. Many people with knee osteoarthritis end up getting a knee replacement.

The study followed about 400 people with knee osteoarthritis who also had low levels of vitamin D. Half the group was given 50,000 International Units of vitamin D a month. The other half got a placebo. The study continued for two years.

No difference seen

At the end of that time, the researchers did not see any difference in pain levels or progression of the disease between the two groups.

Still, the researchers say, it’s important to get enough vitamin D in your diet. Vitamin D helps build and maintain bone mass, even if it doesn’t help with osteoarthritis.

"Vitamin D is an important part of any well-balanced diet," says Neil Roth, MD. "But the notion that it is going to alter your arthritis and minimize some of the symptoms or the progression isn't sound. I wouldn't be taking vitamin D supplements if that's what your goal is." Roth is an orthopedic surgeon in New York City.

 

Find out more about osteoarthritis.

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