HealthDay News — Fiber and/or the dietary supplement chondroitin may help reduce knee pain from arthritis, according to two studies published online May 23 in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

The research team investigating fiber’s effect on knee pain looked at data from two other studies. One included 4796 patients who had or were at risk of osteoarthritis. Their health has been monitored since at least 2006, when their average age was 61. The second set of data came from the Framingham Offspring study, and included 1268 individuals. That study began in 1971, and includes data from 1993 to 1994, when the average age of participants was 54.

In the Framingham group, the highest group ate a median of 25.5 grams daily. The lowest group had 13.7 grams daily. People who ate the most fiber were at lower risk of developing osteoarthritis knee pain, the researchers found. For those in the first group who ate the most fiber, the risk went down by 30%. For those in the Framingham group who ate the most fiber, the risk was 61% less than those who ate the least fiber. The researchers also found that people who ate more fiber were less likely to have worsening knee pain.

In the second study of 604 patients from five European countries who had been diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis, the patients were randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups: 800 mg of chondroitin daily and one placebo pill to mimic 200 mg of celecoxib; 200-mg celecoxib pill and a placebo to mimic the chondroitin pill; or 2 placebo pills. The study participants were assessed at 1, 3, and 6 months. Reductions in pain and improvements in joint function were greater in people treated with chondroitin or celecoxib at 3 and 6 months. The researchers said that chondroitin provided similar relief to celecoxib.

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The second study was sponsored by Institut Biochimique SA, a pharmaceutical company marketing chondroitin sulfate.

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Dai Z, Niu J, Zhang Y, Jacques P, Felson DT. Dietary intake of fibre and risk of knee osteoarthritis in two US prospective cohorts [published online May 23, 2017]. Ann Rheum Dis. doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2016-210810

Reginster J-Y, Dudler J, Blicharski T, Pavelka K. Pharmaceutical-grade Chondroitin sulfate is as effective as celecoxib and superior to placebo in symptomatic knee osteoarthritis: the ChONdroitin versus CElecoxib versus Placebo Trial (CONCEPT) [published online May 22, 2017]. Ann Rheum Dis. doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2016-210860