It is estimated that 46 million adults in the United States have been diagnosed with some form of arthritis. With that many people suffering from the painful ailment, could their hope lie in the hands (well, hooves) of the moose?
Many of the moose of Isle Royale, located in the northwest of Lake Superior, have been found to suffer from arthritis and scientists say that the origin of their arthritis may help explain human osteoarthritis, which is the most common type of arthritis.
According to 50 years of research, the moose ended up with arthritis due to bad nutrition early in their lives. The scientists believe that this may mean that people can link their arthritis to not only nutrition in their childhood, but even back to the womb.
The origin of osteoarthritis is still a bit of a mystery, but it is generally thought to be a result of age and the wear and tear on the body that comes with it. Obesity is also a risk, since the excess weight puts undue stress on the person’s joints.
But what the researchers found while studying the moose was that the origins for arthritis may be a little more complex than that. In the case of this research, early life nutrition could be a major factor.
So, how might your nutrition influence the potential for arthritis? For one, nutrition may influence how your bones and cartilage are shaped. Other potential factors could be changes in hormones and the potential for inflammation later in life.
“It makes perfect sense,” said Dr. Joanne Jordan, director of the Thurston Arthritis Research Center at the University of North Carolina. “Osteoarthritis starts way before the person knows it, way before their knee hurts or their hand hurts. It’s very clear that we’re going to have to start looking back.”
The “moose guy,” as he’s been called, is Rolf Peterson, a Michigan Technological University scientist on the Isle Royale project, which began in 1958.
According to Johns Hopkins, the most common deficiencies seen in those with Rheumatoid Arthritis are folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, zinc and selenium.
For those who suffer from osteoarthritis, one of the keys is to be at a healthy weight to relieve stress on your joints. In addition, according to Registered Dietitian Leslie Beck, vitamin C and D deficiencies may be the key, as higher intakes of antioxidant nutrients such as vitamin C have been associated with lower rates of osteoarthritis and low levels of vitamin D may make the progression of osteoarthritis more likely.
(via: New York Times)