Regular grape consumption may assist in alleviating pain linked to symptomatic osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee, and improve flexibility and overall mobility, recent research presented at the Experimental Biology conference in San Diego says. According to a news release from the California Table Grape Commission, the findings stem from a 16-week clinical study conducted by Texas Woman’s University.

The study was designed to assess the benefits of grape consumption on inflammation and OA outcomes. A total of 72 men and women with knee OA were required to either consume grapes in the form of a whole grape freeze-dried powder, or a placebo powder.

Lead investigator Shanil Juma, PhD, reportedly presented the results, which indicated that both men and women consuming a grape-enriched diet exhibited a significant increase in self-reported pain linked to activity and an overall decrease in total knee symptoms. The release states that the beneficial effect was more pronounced in females. Also, age-related differences were observed, according to the study.

A 70% increase in very hard activity was seen for individuals under the age of 64 consuming grape powder, while individuals receiving the placebo reported a significant decrease in hard activity. Participants older than 65 years, whether consuming grapes or the placebo, reported a decline in moderate to hard activities, according to the results.

Additionally, the results suggest the presence of increased cartilage metabolism in men consuming the grape-enriched diet; this included higher levels of IGF-1 than those on the placebo. The protective effect was not seen in females, the release says. The researchers also point out that no difference in range of motion was observed for either grape group or placebo group. The serum marker for inflammation (IL1-?) measured was increased in both placebo and grape groups, however much less of an increase was observed in the grape group, researchers say.

Juma rearticulates the study’s findings, noting that they offer “promising data that links grape consumption to two very important outcomes for those living with knee osteoarthritis: reduced pain and improvements in joint flexibility.”

Juma adds that more research is needed in order to better understand the results of the serum biomarkers, as well as the age and gender differences observed.

Source(s): California Table Grape Commission, EurekAlert