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TOSH Researchers Launch Studies to Learn More About Influence of Vitamin Supplements on Muscle Strength of Patients with Osteoarthritis of the Knee


MURRAY, UT (7/18/2011) – Researchers at TOSH–The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital and USANA Health Sciences, Inc. are conducting two new studies examining the influence of supplemental vitamins on muscle strength and recovery with the goal of improving daily life for millions of people with knee osteoarthritis.

The first study focuses on patients with osteoarthritis who are candidates for total knee replacement surgery.

It’s estimated that 450,000 total knee replacement surgeries are performed annually, and that this number will double in the next 10 years. At TOSH, approximately 600 total knee procedures are performed each year, and researchers want to know if something as simple as supplementing with a multi-vitamin rich in vitamins C, D, and E improves post-surgery muscle strength in their patients, resulting in faster, more successful recoveries.

Lead researcher Tyler Barker, PhD, a clinical researcher at TOSH, hopes this study will lead to new, complementary treatments for patients.

“If we can improve muscle strength by improving vitamin status in the body, this will be of clinical and practical significance in the recovery from total knee replacement. It’s a very simple solution. But finding the right vitamins, in the right combination, is the key.”

Second study. In the second study, Dr. Barker and colleagues are examining the influence of supplemental vitamin D on muscle strength in people who suffer from knee osteoarthritis. More than 10 million Americans suffer from knee osteoarthritis or osteoarthritis-related symptoms. Osteoarthritis is one of the most debilitating and degenerative joint diseases in the United States.

Many individuals with knee osteoarthritis or osteoarthritis-related symptoms also have weak leg muscles, and that weakness could be contributing to their disease and hampering their daily activities.

Research shows that many in this population also tend to be ‘deficient’ in vitamin D. And, additional studies suggest that vitamin D deficiency could increase the progression of osteoarthritis, but results are inconsistent. Dr. Barker notes that there isn’t any research clearly identifying how vitamin D supplements alone, or in combination with additional supplements like glucosamine sulfate and omega-3 fatty acids, subsequently influence muscle strength in the osteoarthritis population.

Previous research on omega 3 fatty acids – most commonly found in fish oil supplements – suggests that they are powerful anti-inflammatories that could be beneficial for osteoarthritis, pain management and muscular strength. Some evidence suggests that glucosamine sulfate could be beneficial in cartilage biosynthesis, and the lubrication and shock-absorbing properties in the knee.

While Dr. Barker acknowledges that a more comprehensive supplement regimen, or importantly, daily dietary habits, could be more beneficial that a single vitamin, they will nonetheless be working to close that knowledge gap. “Collectively, these studies could have local, national and international impact by identifying a complementary therapeutic approach to improve physical function, pain management, and daily activities in millions of people,” says Dr. Barker.

For more information regarding the study, or possible study participation, please contact TOSH at 801-314-4951.

This clinic is part of the Intermountain Medical Group, which is owned and operated by Intermountain Healthcare.

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