Osteoarthritis (OA) is a major cause of morbidity among the elderly worldwide. It is a disease characterized by localized inflammation of the joint and destruction of cartilage, leading to loss of function. Impaired chondrocyte repair mechanisms, due to inflammation, oxidative stress and autophagy, play important roles in the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis. Olive and its derivatives, which possess anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and autophagy-enhancing activities, are suitable candidates for therapeutic interventions for osteoarthritis.
Aging is the major risk factor for OA. Clinical manifestations of OA, which are marked by joint pain, tenderness, stiffness, impaired movement, crepitus and effusion senescence of chondrocytes (chondrosenescence) occurs as a consequence of aging. This process compromises the ability of the chondrocytes to maintain and repair the articular cartilage tissue. Chondrosenescence, with the prevailing harmful biomechanical stress, leads to irreversible chondrocyte cell death, which ultimately leads to cartilage damage, matrix depletion and loss of cartilage cellularity.
Olive extract, EVOO and polyphenols derived from olive trees possess potent chondroprotective effects, for example decreasing cartilage lesions and degradation in various animal models of OA (“Therapeutic Effects of Olive and Its Derivatives on Osteoarthritis: From Bench to Bedside”; Kok-Yong Chin and Kok-Lun Pang.; Nutrients 2017).
The effect of oral olive extract supplement in patients with OA (aged 55–75 years) was first tested in a randomized double-blinded placebo-controlled trial. The treatment group (n = 30) took 400 mg of freeze-dried olive water extract orally for eight weeks. Osteoarthritic patients in the treatment arm showed significant improvements, as indicated by the Health Assessment Questionnaire-Disability Index, Disease Activity Score with 28-Joint Count Index (“Olive extract supplement decreases pain and improves daily activities in adults with osteoarthritis and decreases plasma homocysteine in those with rheumatoid arthritis”. Bitler, C.M. et al.; Nutr. Res. 2007).
Another randomized double-blinded placebo-controlled clinical trial tested the effects of oral hydroxytyrosol supplementation on knee OA. Subjects with knee pain were treated with 50.1 mg/day olive extract containing 10.04 mg hydroxytyrosol for four weeks (n = 13; aged 60.8 _ 7.2 years). They showed a higher improvement, based on Japanese Orthopaedic Association Scores, compared to the placebo group (total score). Scores for pain during sleeping at night were significantly reduced in the treatment group. Scores for pain during walking on a flat plane were improved marginally as well (“Double-blind placebo-controlled trial of hydroxytyrosol of Olea europaea on pain in gonarthrosis”. Takeda, R. et al,; Phytomedicine 2013).
Natural hydroxytyrosol can be consumed daily to mitigate joint pain.
Olive and its derivatives, which possess anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and autophagy-enhancing activities, are suitable candidates for therapeutic interventions for osteoarthritis.
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