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What works for knee arthritis? Not vitamin D

Consumer Reports News: January 10, 2013 02:38 PM

If you're taking vitamin D pills to ease arthritis in your knee, you might want to reconsider. The supplement didn't stand up to rigorous testing in a clinical study out this week.

In the 2-year study, 146 men and women with painful symptoms of the disease received at least 2,000 international units a day of vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) supplements, or a placebo. The recommended daily intake is 600 to 800 IU for adults.

People who took vitamin D did not report less pain than those who got the placebo. And MRIs taken of their knees showed no significant differences in the cartilage volume. The study appeared in the January 9 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Bottom line: Previous epidemiologic research had suggested that vitamin D supplementation might help slow the progression of arthritis. But this more reliable study data failed to confirm that benefit. See our roundup of steps you can take that can help you reduce arthritis pain and stay mobile.


Effect of Vitamin D Supplementation on Progression of Knee Pain and Cartilage Volume Loss in Patients With Symptomatic Osteoarthritis [JAMA]

Doug Podolsky

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