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Times of India
06 December 2010
By Shailvee Sharda
Lucknow, India

Osteoarthritis, common most outcome of weak bones, can be averted. The first step is a 20–minute exposure to the sun several times a week...
Soak Up The Sun
Quit the comfort of your air–conditioned room and face the sun to keep osteoarthritis (OA) away. A quick 20 minutes exposure to the morning sun for 3–4 days a week is the ‘cheap and best’ source of vitamin–D. A great body of evidences and researches stand by this advice from doctors at Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Medical University.

In fact, a joint study undertaken by CSMMU’s orthopaedic department in collaboration with Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduation Institute of Medical Sciences and Indian Institute of Toxicology Research has been able to establish the relationship.

"People who have lower levels of vitamin–D in the body are at a higher risk of developing OA in future," said Dr RN Srivastava, who along with his team, is working on this Indian Council of Medical Research project. The key aim of this work is to examine severity of OA in patients who have low levels of vitamin–D.

Lack of Vitamin–D is leads to increased risk of joint space narrowing. Its presence helps absorption of calcium, protect bones and prevent bone weight loss. Some rich sources of vitamin–D are liver, cod liver oil, egg yolk, milk and milk products. Experts are of the view that diet plays an important role in bone health. "Taking care of bone health in the initial years can help in old age as bones bones regenerate faster till the age of 30," they said.

Other vitamins also play an important role in keeping bone healthy. Vitamin–C for instance, aids in development of normal cartilage and reduces knee pain. Amla, lemon, guava, mausami, green leafy vegetables are rich sources. Then Vitamin–E is a natural anti–inflammatory agent and enhances chondrocyte growth. In diet, it comes from whole gram, nuts, vegetable oils, plant foods, which are richer sources then animal foods.

Vitamin–A and K have a direct association with OA. Low intake of vitamin–A is associated with weakening of bones and its deficiency aggravates morbidity of OA. Green leafy vegetables like agathi, spinach, amaranth, fruits especially papaya, seasonal fruits like mangoes and tomatoes, yellow pumpkin roots and tubers like sweet potato, carrots are rich in Vitamin–A.

Vitamin–K on the other hand has the power to slow down the incidence rate of OA and reduce joint pain. So one should have dark green leafy vegetables, tubers and seeds, dairy products like milk, butter, cheese, buttermilk, fruits and meat products.

The entire Vitamin–B group (B3, B5 and B12) aids joint function and range of motion, increases muscle strength and reduces erythrocyte sedimentation rate. Sources include: groundnut, jowar, whole cereals, pulses, and meat.

Minerals like copper and zinc help in reducing inflammation of joint cartilage and should be incorporated in the diet. Almonds, beans, mushrooms, whole grains, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, oysters, crab, prunes, lamb, pork, liver, beef are some of the important ingredients containing high amount of these two minerals.

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