A mineral found in seaweed may help people with knee osteoarthritis manage their pain and cut down on painkillers, say researchers from St. Louis Park, Minnesota.
In this new study, 22 adults with moderate to severe knee osteoarthritis took a seaweed supplement called Aquamin or a placebo for 12 weeks. Researchers monitored their use of medications for pain relief and their ability to move their knee joint.
The supplement contains a mix of trace minerals, with the main ingredients being calcium and magnesium.
Overall, people with osteoarthritis show improvements in walking ability and range of motion in the knee joint after taking the supplement. Use of painkillers was also cut in half while the arthritis sufferers took this mineral supplement.
Osteoarthritis is the "wear-and-tear" form of arthritis in which the cartilage cushioning in joints gradually breaks down causing pain and decreased range of movement.
It's not fully understood why this seaweed supplement might aid arthritis symptoms although there's some evidence that calcium may boost bone mineral density and ease arthritis symptoms.
More studies are needed, the researchers report in the online publication Nutrition Journal, but these results suggest that the seaweed supplement could reduce some the need for painkillers in people with osteoarthritis.
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