Dietary carbohydrates could lead to osteoarthritis. According to new findings from the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, the carbohydrate composition of diets may increase the risk of osteoarthritis in laboratory mice even when the animals didn’t differ in weight.
Osteoarthritis, or OA, is the most common form of arthritis and the most widespread form of disability in the country. Several factors can increase risk, including high-impact physical jobs, previous joint injuries, age, and genetics, but carrying extra body weight is among the most proven contributors.
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OMRF scientist Tim Griffin, who led the study, said, “We know increased body fat elevates risk, but we haven’t appreciated as much how diet itself affects the disease risk. These findings give us new clues that there can be significant dietary effects linked to increased OA risk even in the absence of obesity.”
“Obesity is one of the most significant factors for developing a disease in the knee joint. However, therapeutic strategies to prevent or treat obesity-associated OA are limited because of the uncertainty about the root cause of the disease,” added Griffin.
While the study involved mice, Griffin said the findings could ultimately have human implications. “It’s important to understand how our diet affects the health of our joints,” he said. “We were surprised to see so many OA-related differences between the two high-carb diets even though body weight and body fat were the same.”
Researchers now plan to investigate how different types of dietary fibre and other components of our diets can contribute to OA, and also look at the role the body’s microbiome and gut bacteria play in the disease. The full findings are present in the journal- Disease Models & Mechanisms.