Cumulative damage to tissues, mediated by reactive oxygen species, has been implicated as a pathway that leads to many of the degenerative changes associated with aging.
640 participants received complete assessments. Incident and progressive osteoarthritis (OA) occurred in 81 and 68 knees, respectively.
A 3-fold reduction in risk of OA progression was found for both the middle tertile and highest tertile of vitamin C intake. This related predominantly to a reduced risk of cartilage loss.
Those with high vitamin C intake also had a reduced risk of developing knee pain. A reduction in risk of OA progression was seen for beta carotene and vitamin E intake, but was less consistent. No significant associations were observed for the nonantioxidant nutrients.
High intake of antioxidant micronutrients, especially vitamin C, may reduce the risk of cartilage loss and disease progression in people with OA. We found no effect of antioxidant nutrients on incident OA. These preliminary findings warrant confirmation.
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