High-fibre diet reduces risk of symptomatic osteoarthritis

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The authors of a new study have identified a consistent protective association between total fibre intake and symptomatic knee osteoarthritis.

Previous studies have shown that higher dietary fibre intake can reduce risks for cardiovascular diseases and is associated with decreased fasting glucose levels in type 2 diabetes. A new study, believed to be the first to investigate the association between dietary fibre and osteoarthritis outcomes, has reported that higher total fibre intake is related to a lower risk for symptomatic osteoarthritis (SxOa).

The findings draw on two different long-term studies: the Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI) and the Framingham Offspring cohort study.

In both cohorts, dietary total fibre was inversely associated with risk of SxOA, with significantly lower risk at the highest versus lowest quartile of fibre intake (30 per cent lower risk in the OAI cohort and 61 per cent lower risk in the Framingham study.) It was not however associated with incident radiographic knee osteoarthritis. Additionally, among the OAI participants, eating more fibre in general and a high cereal fibre intake, were associated with a significantly lower risk of worsening knee pain.

Writing in the Annals of the Rheumatic Disease , the authors said the data “demonstrate a consistent protective association between total fibre intake and symptom-related knee [osteoarthritis] in two study populations with careful adjustment for potential confounders”.

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