Researchers offer the latest evidence around supplements for osteoarthritis

With a large number of people relying on supplements to reduce their osteoarthritis pain, our researchers at the Kolling Institute have conducted a much-needed review of the most popular ones.

The condition is impacting an increasing number of people, with many experiencing joint pain and functional impairment due to the disabling disease.

Sadly, there is a lack of effective drugs to treat the condition so many people resort to supplements in the hope of achieving some relief.

Now, researchers at the Kolling Institute have completed a comprehensive review, summarising the best available evidence and detailing the most effective supplements.

Rheumatology fellow Dr Xiaoqian Liu from the Osteoarthritis Research Team said we have developed a traffic light diagram that provides easily obtainable information for clinicians and patients.

“There are three colours in the diagram, representing the various recommendation levels,” she said.

“Green means recommend, orange means probably recommend or probably don’t recommend and red means don’t recommend.

“Following our review, we conditionally recommend a short period of use of curcumin, Boswellia serrata extract and pine bark extract as the current evidence shows they have a large treatment effect in relieving pain and improving function.

“Other supplements however, have only demonstrated a minimal treatment effect in pain relief.”

Researchers say the quality of the current evidence is low and larger studies are needed to confirm the findings, but they hope their review will help those with osteoarthritis make an informed decision.

“There are a tremendous number of supplements on the market, so it’s crucial the community has access to the latest, reliable information around the impact of these supplements.”