Drinking a glass of orange juice a day may help stave off arthritis, new research suggests. Certain carotenoids, compounds commonly found in some fruits and vegetables, appear to be responsible.
The findings from previous studies have suggested that dietary carotenoids, the chemicals responsible for the orange and yellow coloring of fruits and vegetables, can reduce inflammation through antioxidant effects.
Dr. Alan J. Silman, from The University of Manchester in the UK, and colleagues analyzed data from a study of more than 25,000 subjects to investigate the association between dietary carotenoids and arthritis risk. Between 1993 and 2001, the subjects were followed to assess the occurrence of arthritis affecting multiple joints.
The researchers’ findings appear in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Eighty-eight subjects developed arthritis during follow-up and they were matched to 176 healthy comparison subjects.
Average daily intakes of the carotenoids beta-cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin were 40 and 20 percent lower, respectively, for arthritis patients compared with healthy subjects. By contrast, consumption of two other well-known carotenoids, lutein and lycopene, did not seem to protect against arthritis.
Further analysis showed that subjects with the highest beta-cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin intake were about half as likely to develop inflammatory polyarthritis than those with the lowest intake.
“These data add to a growing body of evidence that some dietary antioxidants, such as the carotenoids beta-cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin as well as vitamin C, may be protective against the development of” arthritis, the authors conclude.