Can oils from avocados and soybeans fight arthritis?

WASHINGTON — Researchers say oils from soybeans and avocados could help fight osteoarthritis, but it’s unclear whether that actually works.

Osteoarthritis is the breakdown over time of cartilage, which cushions joints. Medications used to relieve this condition increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, if taken in large doses.

Clinicians say that avocado-soy supplements don’t cause serious side effects, but “there’s not enough evidence that they are effective,” David Felson, a senior arthritis researcher at the Boston University School of Medicine, told the Wall Street Journal.

A component of the oils found in avocados and soybeans, called unsaponifables, show anti-inflammatory activity and rebuild joint cartilage in a couple of studies; others are inconclusive. Dr. Jason Theodosakis, a clinical associate professor at the University of Arizona and CEO of a supplement company, told the WSJ that eating avocados or soybeans won’t have the same effect as taking the supplement.

Dr. Lee Simon, a former Food and Drug Administration director of analgesic, anti-inflammatory and ophthalmologic drug products, says that since no drugs on the market currently have been conclusively shown to slow osteoarthritis either, it’s “not unreasonable” to give it a try.

Read a study here.

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