Does Purple Passion Fruit Peel Extract Ease Arthritis Pain?

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Osteoarthritis is an exceedingly common condition that affects over 20 million Americans.  As we age, our chances of developing osteoarthritis continue to increase.

Generally regarded as the ‘wear and tear’ type of arthritis, factors such as joint injuries among others can lead to its development.

For those who suffer from this condition, previous research suggests that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are usually a better choice than medicine such as acetaminophen.  However, some research suggests that even NSAIDS are not effective for long-term management of arthritis symptoms.

Does purple passion fruit peel extract relieve arthritis symptoms?

I have to admit that this extract’s name does have quite the alliterative quality.  The purple passion fruit is native to Brazil and Paraguay, though it’s now commonly found in California and Hawaii.

A new research study involving a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, for the use of purple passion fruit root extract in patients with osteoarthritis was recently published in the Nutrition Research Journal.  The study itself included 33 patients with osteoarthritis who were randomized to receive extract of the fruit or placebo for 2 months.

[box type="note"]The participants consumed pill containing 150 mg of the purple passion fruit peel extract.  This extract contains a unique mixture of bioflavinoids which are most commonly known for their antioxidant activity.[/box]

After 30 days, there were significant improvements in physical functioning while after 60 days, there was also an improvement in pain symptoms (pain and stiffness each decreased approximately 18-19%).  The arthritis symptoms were measured with commonly used WOMAC score (see below).

Study results:

The OA clinical symptoms were evaluated monthly with Western Ontario and McMaster Universities (WOMAC) Osteoarthritis Index. In the PFP group, there was a significant improvement in total WOMAC score and WOMAC subscale score of physical function after 30 days and pain after 60 days. At 60 days, reductions of 18.6%, 18%, 19.6%, and 19.2% in pain, stiffness, physical function, and composite WOMAC score, respectively, were self-reported in the PFP group.

Dr. Ronald Watson, the lead author in this study, wrote:

“The ability for passion fruit peel extract to act as an anti-inflammatory agent, antioxidant, and MMP inhibitor may explain its reduction in osteoarthritis pathology in the patients studied in this double-blinded, placebo-controlled study,”

Previous research has studied the effectiveness of purple passion fruit extract for relieving asthma symptoms.  Specifically, this study found that supplementation with the same dose of 150 mg/day improve symptoms of cough, wheeze, and shortness of breath, but did not improve the forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1, or the maximum amount of air you can exhale in 1 second.  Asthma is a obstructive airway disease, so this measure reflects the disease state).  No side effects were noted in this study.

Sources:

  • Nutr Res. 2010 Sep;30(9):601-6.
  • Nutr Res., March 2008, 28(3):166-171.
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8 thoughts on “Does Purple Passion Fruit Peel Extract Ease Arthritis Pain?

  1. In all of these studies – is there a reason why there the long term studies are not conducted – or less popular? Is it just the timing?

    • Mark, there’s a number of factors that would determine the length of the study. From what I’m aware, this is the first study to demonstrate that purple passion fruit root extract may be effective for treating symptoms of osteoarthritis. Typically, for cost reasons, researchers start off with smaller, less-robust study designs before more extensive research follows. Longer studies are far more expensive and available funding for research for natural ingredients is not nearly as substantial as it is for pharmaceutical products.

      • hii doc: whats the difference between yellow lemon passion fruit and purple passion fruit? haven’t you tried the former’s health benefits if any? I have right now three sacks of yellow leon passion fruits, i dont kn ow what to do with them..

  2. Hi Jarret
    How wonderful if these results prove conclusive. Very small controlled study though. In most of the studies I have read about other natural products they have been with a much larger group but if the purple passion fruit proves to be helping these sufferers then great. They grow really well here in Perth and I love eating them.
    Patricia Perth Australia

    • Hi Patricia, I agree that these results are encouraging and we’ll have to wait for larger follow up studies to confirm these results. I’ve never tried purple passion fruit myself. What do they taste like?

  3. Hmm I’m a bit confused here.. Is it the passion fruit peel or the root? Bioflavinoids are good antioxidants.

    I’m just wondering if they will be another study that will compare it with something else like strawberries. Been hearing a lot of good things about it but so far its probably not potent enough to be use commercially for patients yet.

    thx for posting this up!

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