Knee pains pretty common sight these days. By reducing carbohydrates to low levels though pain caused by inflammation could reduce severity. That is what American researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham report in Pain Medicine. The Americans put test subjects with osteoarthritis in their knee joint on a low-carbohydrate diet for three months and saw a significant decrease in symptoms.
In the study researchers divided 21 individuals over-65s with worn-out and painful knee joints into 3 groups.
For 12 weeks the subjects in a control group continued to eat as they were used to [CTRL]. A second control group started following a low-fat weight-loss diet that delivered 800-1200 calories a day [LFD]. The experimental group switched to a low-carbohydrate diet that only delivered 20 grams of carbohydrates per day [LCD]. The test subjects in the third group could eat as much as they wanted.
Results The subjects in the low carb group lost more weight than the subjects in the other groups. The subjects in the low carbohydrate group reported a significant decrease in pain in the knee joint during functioning of the knee. The subjects in the low-carb group also reported less pain when they were just sitting or getting up from their seats.
Mechanism The low-carbohydrate diet reduced the concentration of TBARS in the test subjects' blood. That is a marker of the activity of free radicals. A low carbohydrate diet activates antioxidant mechanisms in the body. The greater the decrease in TBARS, the greater the decrease in pain.
Conclusion "Our exploratory pilot study demonstrates an improvement in self-reported and functional pain in older adults with knee osteoarthritis following a low-carbohydrate diet intervention," the researchers write. "In only 12 weeks, the quality of life and functional pain of this population were significantly improved, which may have been the result of a reduction in oxidative stress."
The study does bring a welcome relief to those suffering from knee pains. Since this study only measured impact on knees we can’t be certain if the relief has a whole-body effect. In any case a low
diet is proving to be beneficial on many levels.