PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Lots of people have joint pain. Bones make up the joints. Could Vitamin D and calcium, which are good for the bones, help?
Previous studies showed people with vague, low level joint pain had low Vitamin D levels.
“The next series of studies is to say if we supplement these patients do they actually get any better? Does the swelling change, or is this just a correlation?” explains Allegheny General Hospital orthopedic surgeon Dr. Timothy Sauber.
Researchers studied nearly 2,000 post-menopausal women. Half took 1,000 milligrams of calcium and 400 units of Vitamin D each day. The other half took placebo.
At two years, the supplement group and the placebo group were the same in terms of joint pain and joint swelling. About three out of four had pain in either group, one-third had swelling.
“A lot of the treatments we have for osteoarthritis and joint pain in people end up being relatively comparable to placebo,” Dr Sauber says.
This even includes treatments like steroid injections, hyaluronic acid shots, and other supplements like glucosamine chondroitin.
The old standard is still the current standard.
“Right now our treatment consists of anti-inflammatory medications, like Motrin, Aleve,” he says. “The strongest data is for weight loss and exercise.”
He recommends low impact workouts with ellipticals and water aerobics for people who find their joints hurt too much when they exercise.
While there’s no evidence they do something for joint pain, he’s not necessarily opposed to supplements. Just be sure to tell your doctors what you’re doing.
“If you look at all of our treatments, supplementation is a relatively low-risk treatment option,” he says.
It’s not that supplements don’t work; simply they work as well as placebo. If you’re finding something that helps you and it’s not too hard on your pocketbook, it’s okay to keep taking it.