The Mediterranean Diet and Arthritis Risk?

Monounsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFA):

A study just recently published in the medical journal, Osteoarthritis Cartilage, found a link between higher intakes of monounsaturated fatty acids and bone marrow lesions. Bone marrow lesions are important in the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis (Wang et al, 2007).

What Does This Mean?

When I was in medical school, one type of diet gaining popularity was the Mediterranean diet (Spain, Italy, and Greece). This particular diet was of interested as people in this region were noted to have lower levels of cholesterol and a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease. People in this region consume reasonably large quantities of Olive Oil, which has a high MUFA content.

Not surprisingly, there is a high content of MUFAs in this Mediterranean diet.

  1. A diet high in MUFA (versus a high-carbohydrate diet) improves glycemic control in individuals with adult onset diabetes (NIDDM) who maintain body weight.
  2. Individuals with elevated triglycerides or insulin levels also may benefit from a high-MUFA diet.
  3. Additionally, there is epidemiological evidence that dietary MUFAs have a beneficial effect on the risk of coronary heart disease.

However, despite the numerous potential benefits of MUFAs, there is some preliminary evidence that they may have adverse effect on your joint health. However, the risk of MUFAs on bone marrow lesions is not firmly established and further studies are required.

If your health concerns include type II diabetes, coronary heart disease, or high cholesterol, you may want to discuss the Mediterranean Diet with your physician, dietician, etc.  To continue reading more about natural arthritis remedies, follow the link.

Reference:

  1. Wang Y, Wluka AE, Hodge AM, English DR, Giles GG, O’sullivan R, Cicuttini FM. Effect of fatty acids on bone marrow lesions and knee cartilage in healthy, middle-aged subjects without clinical knee osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2007 Oct 13;