Fatty Acids Improve Joint Mobility
Nutritional Supplement Reduces Swelling, Pain, Improves Flexibility
Aug. 8, 2002 -- Plagued by arthritis? Here's another nutritional supplement -- one called Celadrin -- that seems to improve knee flexibility and function.
In a small trial, researchers found that people with chronic knee osteoarthritis who took Celadrin for two months were able to walk longer distances than those who'd taken a placebo. So far, there have been no reports of side effects.
Celadrin joins two other nutritional supplements -- glucosamine and chondroitin -- in battling painful osteoarthritis, the wear-and-tear that affects the joints of older adults. Glucosamine and chondroitin have been shown to help create new cartilage and slow cartilage destruction.
Celadrin is composed of concentrated fatty acids, which have been shown to protect rats from developing inflammation, says lead researcher Robert Hesslink Jr., ScD, director of research and development at Imagentix, the product's manufacturer.
"The mix of fatty acids in Celadrin seems to function on several different levels throughout the body to reduce inflammation -- by controlling the body's cells as well as the immune system," Hesslink tells WebMD.
"People don't get these fatty acids in their diets these days," he adds. "With changes in lifestyle, we've gotten away from consuming fats. Many people have taken fat entirely out of their diet, not realizing that there are some trade-offs. So we've concentrated some fatty acids that we believe the body's been looking for."
In his study, 64 people took either Celadrin or placebo in softgel form six times a day with a meal. In 30 days, those taking Celadrin showed "significant improvements" in joint flexibility, mobility, and function that were still evident at 68 days, says Hesslink.
Celadrin is not a substitute for glucosamine-chondroitin or any other product, he adds. "We think this would be an addition to any therapy patients are currently taking. Each [therapy] has its benefit."
"We believe our product reduces inflammation," Hesslink says. "We believe it helps reduce destruction, so it allows a product like glucosamine to go in and start the restorative process, the repair. It's kind of like if your body never gets sleep, it never gets a chance to reset and retune."
While Celadrin also seems to restore cartilage, "we just haven't been able to show it in a clinical trial," he tells WebMD. "We're very excited. We're continuing to push our science. We know we have a product that works because people ask for it again and again. But people ask how does it work? That's one of the things we're trying to show."
Celadrin is not available on store shelves yet. The product is marketed through a network system, says Hesslink.
The findings are "intriguing, but certainly not definitive," says Ronenn Roubenoff, MD, MHS, associate professor of medicine and nutrition at Tufts University School of Medicine. Roubenoff reviewed the study for WebMD.
While the effects on pain and range of motion were not "huge," this is "something worth pursuing," says Roubenoff. "People have shown that related compounds like fish oils are helpful in rheumatoid arthritis."
He says these fatty acids in Celadrin increased flexibility by 10 degrees, which is useful, and cut pain in half compared with placebo. "Not a strong effect, but there is something going on."