Osteoarthritis, degenerative joint disease or degenerative arthritis, is a common chronic condition of the joints. About 27 million U.S. citizens are suffering from weak joints. The disease primarily deteriorates the joints such as knees, hips, lower back and neck, small joints of the fingers, and the bases of the thumb etc.
People suffering from osteoarthritis have broken levels of cartilage, pain, swelling, and joint’s immobility. If possibly ignored, the disease worsens resulting ultimately into the breakage of bones. Parts of bone or cartilage may chip off and float around in the joint. Inflammation may also occur causing even more harm to the cartilage. The advanced stages of osteoarthritis are characterized by worn off cartilages when the bones rub against each other causing severe pain in the joints.
People aged 65 and above are at a greater risk to develop the disease. Along with age, obesity, previous joint injury, overuse of the joint, and weak thigh muscles, may also promote the disease.
A good diet rich in iron, folate, calcium, essential vitamins, and a light but regular exercise can prevent the chances of the disease.
In addition, Spinicia oleracea commonly known as Spinach can help to strengthen bones. According to a study published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, spinach is reported to help people suffering from bones related issues. The study, carried out by a team of researchers at CSIR-Central Drug Research Institute in India, stated that the people suffering from osteoarthritis can expect spinach to strengthen their bones. The researchers examined the anti-osteoarthritic aspects of spinach extracts.
A group of mice was employed for the study, which was injected with monosodium iodoacetate (MIA) in order to induce osteoarthritis into them. The MIA could potentially stimulate inflammation and joint and sub-chondral bone loss.
The MIA was injected at their knee joint. The mice afterward were given an oral dose of 250 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) or 500 mg/kg of spinach extract. The dose was regularly given for about 28 days.
The anti-osteoarthritic effects of Spinach were investigated using the micro-CT, mRNA, clinically relevant biomarkers, and behavioral experiments. Protein expressions of pro-inflammatory and chondrogenic genes were also examined. The results of the study reported the spinach extract to exhibit antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
The histological assessment of the knee joints, at the end of the study, proved the same. The researchers revealed that the spinach extract treatment not only enhanced the joint space but also relieved the irregularity of the joint. It nourished the femoral condyles and tibial plateau. Moreover, the spinach treatment also diminished the degradation of chondrocytes and extracellular matrix components present in the joint area. Chondrocytes are the basic controllers of the key activities of the joint cartilage.
Spinach extract also improved the bone cartilage; it increases the total bone volume to tissue volume. It is also reported to elevate the trabecular number, which provides the magnitude of the structural and functional strength of the cartilage.
The scientists also reported that the people, who administer spinach in their diet, show a higher level of joint mobility, increased traveling distance and lower chances of falling. It was also reported to maintain the chondrogenic setting of joint chondrocytes by dropping the expression of collagen type 10 (Col10), in the joints.
The team attributed the active components, in spinach extracts, to the neutralization of the damaging effects of MIA. The spinach extract treatment, considerably, decreases the elevated serum level of
- Glutathione S-transferases (GST)
- Cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP)
- Urinary C-telopeptide of type II collagen (CTX-II)
Based on the experimental data gathered and the findings of the study, it was concluded that the spinach extract could lessen pain and other osteoarthritis-relevant symptoms. Thus, it could be employed against weak bones as a potential and natural alternative to arthritis.