Eight foods to reduce inflammation and cartilage damage for arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis: NHS on common signs and symptoms

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Arthritis can be a painful and debilitating condition. Depending on the type you have it can cause joint inflammation, stiffness and pain, as well as the breakdown of bone and cartilage. While there is no cure, it is thought diet can help ease certain symptoms.

Doctor Clare Morrison, from online pharmacy MedExpress, spoke with Express.co.uk about how to manage the side effects of arthritis.

She said: “Sulforaphane is a phytochemical found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, sprouts, and cauliflower.

“It neutralises free radicals that might cause damage to cells, and helps reduce inflammation.

“Research in mice has indicated that it prevents and slows the progression of cartilage damage associated with arthritis, and may also reduce the risk of cancer.”

Foods rich in sulforaphane include:

  • Broccoli sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Kale
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage, both red and white varieties
  • Bok choy.

The research she referenced was published in the Public Library of Science One journal.

As part of the study, sulforaphane was given to mice with collagen-induced arthritis.

It says: “Sulforaphane treatment reduced the arthritis score and the severity of histologic inflammation in collagen-induced arthritis mice.

“The joints from sulforaphane-treated collagen-induced arthritis mice showed decreased expression of interleukin (IL)-6, IL-17, tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α, receptor activator of NF-κB ligand, and tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase.

“Sulforaphane-treated mice showed lower circulating levels of type-II-collagen-specific IgG, IgG1, and IgG2a.

“In vitro, sulforaphane treatment significantly reduced the differentiation of lipopolysaccharide-stimulated murine splenocytes into plasma B cells and germinal-center B cells.”

It concludes: “Systemic administration of sulforaphane attenuated arthritis and histological inflammation in a murine model of rheumatoid arthritis.

“Sulforaphane significantly reduced the expression of proinflammatory cytokines in inflamed joints.”

A separate paper, published in the Arthritis Research and Therapy journal, also found Sulforaphane could combat “cartilage destruction”.

It says: “These findings indicate that the use of sulforaphane might be considered as an adjunctive therapeutic strategy to combat inflammation, pannus formation, and cartilage destruction in rheumatoid arthritis.”

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis in the UK, affecting nearly nine million people.

To begin with it damages the smooth cartilage lining of the joint, making movement more difficult and leading to pain and stiffness.

It usually affects joints in the hands, knees, spine and hips.

The second most common type of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis, which occurs when the body’s immune system targets affected joints, causing pain and swelling.

Symptoms of arthritis can include:

  • Joint pain, tenderness and stiffness
  • Inflammation in and around the joints
  • Restricted movement of the joints
  • Warm red skin over the affected joint
  • Weakness and muscle wasting.

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