• Fiber Hailed As Remedy For Wear-And-Tear Arthritis (But Is All As It Seems?)

    Posted May 27, 2017: by Bill Sardi

    A recently published study hails high fiber diets as a preventive for wear-and-tear arthritis (osteoarthritis) of the knee.  [New York Times, May 24, 2017; Annals Rheumatic Diseases May 23, 2017] Another recently published study corroborates the association between high fiber diets and reduction in knee pain. [Arthritis Care Research Nov 2016] But is all as it seems?

    Not all sources of fiber are the same.  Within whole grains (rice, wheat, oats) is bran that contains an iron-binding molecule called phytate or IP6 (inositol hexaphosphate).  It is this molecule that controls the iron-induced inflammation in joints.  Patients with arthritis of the knee are more likely to have high iron storage levels (as measured by ferritin; 20-70 is normal range).  In one study patients with arthritis knees had a mean ferritin level of 273-655. [Scandinavian Journal Rheumatology 2010]

    Arthritic patients with inherited iron overload (hemochromatosis) are more likely to undergo joint replacement surgery. [American Journal Medicine July 2010] Another study reveals patients with iron-overload are more likely to undergo joint replacement surgery but not their first-degree relatives. [Arthritis Care Research May 2013]

    Excessive weight is a factor in the onset of arthritis of the knee.  Excessive consumption of refined grains as white bread is associated with obesity. [British Journal Nutrition April 2015]

    It should be noted that the consumption of grain in the feeding pen is used to fatten cattle prior to slaughter.   In the pursuit of fiber, grain-based diets may be counterproductive.

    Rye bread contains more of the iron-controlling molecule IP6, usually has no sugar added, and may be a more desirable choice of bread over other varieties of bread advertised as whole grain or multigrain that provide little IP6. [Journal Agriculture Food Chemistry Feb 2007]  Bread with added bran would also be advantageous. [Knowledge of Health March 3, 2010]

    While IP6 (phytate) is considered an anti-nutrient that robs growing children and menstruating females of needed iron, intense study of IP6 showed its inclusion in the diet does not affect the absorption of calcium or iron. [Journal Nutrition July 1984]  In another study, bran was demonstrated to inhibit the absorption of iron but not the IP6 fraction of bran. [American Journal Clinical Nutrition Aug 1981]

    Western processed food diets provide ~250 mg/day of IP6; a carnivorous diet ~750 mg/day IP6, a vegetarian diet ~1500 mg/day of IP6.  [Molecular Nutrition Food Research Sept 2000]

    IP6 is available as a dietary supplement and consumer in modest amounts (400+ mg/day) may be more helpful in preventing arthritic pain than high fiber diets.

    Of added note, a high ferritin count also appears to be associated with the accumulation of calcium crystals within joints that result in pain. [Annals Rheumatic Diseases 1997]  IP6 is also an anti-calcifying agent. [Life Sciences May 21, 2004] #### ©2017 Bill Sardi, Knowledge of Health Inc.

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