Pycnogenol and MSM relieve osteoarthritis symptoms

People with osteoarthritis (OA) walked farther, had less pain and inflammation, had better blood circulation and took fewer OA drugs, in several new studies on pycnogenol and MSM (methylsulfonylmethane).

In a pycnogenol study, 156 participants with osteoarthritis, average age 48, took 100 mg per day of pycnogenol or a placebo for three months. Participants could also take OA pain medications—NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as Advil and Cox II inhibitors such as Celebrex—recording each dose taken in a diary.

After 90 days, the pycnogenol group reported 56 percent fewer OA symptoms compared to 10 percent for placebo, were able to walk 142 yards farther compared to 25 yards for placebo and reduced the use of OA drugs 58 percent versus 1 percent for placebo. Side effects from OA drugs such as stomach upset decreased 63 percent with pycnogenol versus 3 percent for placebo. Foot swelling due to poor circulation ­decreased 79 percent in the pycnogenol group and only 1 percent for placebo.

In another pycnogenol study, 37 participants with OA of the knee took 50 mg of pycnogenol three times per day or a placebo. After three months, the pycnogenol group had 43 percent less pain, 35 percent less stiffness, 52 percent better physical ability and took significantly fewer OA drugs while the placebo group showed no significant improvements in pain, stiffness or physical ability, and took more OA drugs. Doctors believe that pycnogenol reduces inflammation.

In an MSM study, 50 men and women with OA of the knee, aged 40 to 76, took 6 grams of MSM in two 3-gram doses per day or a placebo. After 12 weeks, the MSM group had significantly less pain and improved physical ability in all activities of daily living compared to placebo. There were
no major side effects.

In a lab MSM study, researchers from the University of California at San Diego took cartilage from healthy and osteoarthritic knees of cadavers and found that MSM reduced inflammatory chemicals known as cytokines. Researchers said MSM may help protect cartilage from OA.

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