“5 clinical studies all showed ASU can play a role in maintaining joint health. The most important of which in my opinion, is the meta-analysis (#4) which is a statistical technique for combining data from multiple studies. The authors concluded that ASU can lead to better functional improvement of the joint and decreased pain.”

PUYA YAZDI, M.D.

Clinical Studies | Do Joint Supplements Work?

Clinical Study 1

The first clinical study was a 90 day, prospective, multicentered, double-blind, placebo-controlled study with 163 total participants. The study focused on the NSAID sparing effects of ASU, so all participants recruited were taking NSAIDS for either knee or hip joint pain.

Results

The results of the study were the following: fewer individuals taking ASU restarted on NSAID in comparison to those taking a placebo
(43% vs. 70%; p<0.001) This difference also reached statistical significance 30 days after withdrawal of the NSAIDs
(35% vs. 65%; p<0.001).

Consistent with this was the decreased cumulative NSAID dose in the group taking ASU in comparison to those on placebos after withdrawal of the NSAID to the end of the trial.

Sources

Blotman F, Maheu E, Wulwik A, Caspard H, Lopez A. Efficacy and safety of avocado/soybean Blotman F, Maheu E, Wulwik A, Caspard H, Lopez A. Efficacy and safety of avocado/soybean multicenter, three-month, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Rev Rhum Engl Ed. 1997;64(12):825-834.

Clinical Study 2

This was another prospective, multicentered, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial that was designed to study the effects of ASU on pain symptoms, functional status, and for potential NSAID sparing effects of ASU. A total of 164 patients enrolled in the trial and either took a placebo or 300mg ASU capsules for 6 months.

Results

The results of the study demonstrated a improvement in function in those in taking ASU in comparison to patients taking a placebo. Consistent with this increase in functional status was a decrease in pain scores by the time of the 2-month visit, which also persisted throughout the 8 month study period. Cumulative NSAID intake was not reported in this study.
Given that the effects of ASU on functional status and pain were not observed until the 2 month visit and persisted after a withdrawal period of 2 months, the authors concluded that ASU has a delayed effect that potentially persists for at least 2 months upon cessation.

Sources

Maheu E, Mazieres B, Valat J-P, et al. Symptomatic efficacy of avocado/soybean unsaponifiables in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee and hip: A prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo- controlled, multicenter clinical trial with a six-month treatment period and a two-month follow-up demonstrating a persistent effect. Arthritis Rheum. 1998;41(1):81-91.

Clinical Study 3

Next was a 260 subject study that focused on the knee. This multicentered (within Belgium), double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, included two different treatment groups taking 300mg and 600mg of ASU daily respectively with primary NSAID intake between 30 and 90 days since the study began.

Results

This study demonstrated a decrease in NSAID intake in comparison to placebo for both the ASU 300 and ASU 600 groups for the time periods between the visit at days 30 to 60 and days 60 to 90 (p<0.01 for both doses for both intervals).
In this study, that recruited only individuals with knee Osteoarthritis, regardless of dose and comparable for both doses, patient reported pain began to decrease after taking ASU for 30 days and functional status began to improve after taking ASU for 60 days.

Sources

Appelboom T, Schuermans J, Verbruggen G, Henrotin Y, Reginster JY. Symptoms modifying the effect of avocado/soybean unsaponifiables (ASU) in knee osteoarthritis. A double-blind, prospective, placebo-controlled study. Scand J Rheumatol. 2001;30(4):242-247.

Clinical Study 4

A meta-analysis of four trials was done totaling 664 Osteoarthritis patients with either hip (41.4%) or knee (58.6%) osteoarthritis allocated to either 300 mg of ASU (336) or placebo (328).

Results

The results found better functional improvement and decreased pain scores favoring ASU treatment.

Sources

Christensen, R., Bartels, E.M., Astrup, A., and Bliddal, H. Symptomatic efficacy of avocado-soybean unsaponifiables (ASU) in osteoarthritis (OA) patients: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2008; 16: 399–408

Clinical Study 5

Most recently, an open, multicentered, observational study was conducted in Poland to study the effects of ASU on knee Osteoarthritis in a setting intended to mimic routine clinical practice. This study is the largest to date and involved 99 different rheumatologists and 4186 patients who took ASU 300mg daily for 6 months.

Results

This study concluded that ASU was associated with decreased pain at rest and an improved functional status after taking the supplement for 2 months and this effect persisted until the end of the study.

Sources

Gluszko P, Stasiek M. Symptom-modifying effects of oral avocado/soybean unsaponifiables in routine treatment of knee osteoarthritis in Poland. An open, prospective observational study of patients adherent to a 6-month treatment. Reumatologia/Rheumatology. 2016;5(5):217-226.

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