More than 50 million American adults and children have some form of arthritis, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While prescription drugs and lifestyle changes can help manage the condition, both avocados and soybeans contain compounds that might relieve the symptoms of arthritis. In addition, some dietary supplements, including a combination of avocado and soybean oils known as avocado soybean unsaponifiables, may be beneficial.
A 1-cup serving of fresh avocado cubes contains approximately 3 milligrams of vitamin E, or 14 percent of the recommended dietary allowance of the nutrient for healthy adults. A high intake of vitamin E may slow joint deterioration in people with osteoarthritis and can reduce the pain experienced by individuals with rheumatoid arthritis. Soybeans are rich in isoflavones, compounds that may reduce joint inflammation. A study published in "Phytomedicine" in 2004 reported that consuming soy can help treat osteoarthritis symptoms, especially in men, though more research is needed.
Supplement Ingredients and Nutrition
A nonprescription avocado soybean unsaponifiables supplement contains a powdered avocado and soybean oil combination consisting of approximately 2 parts soybean oil to 1 part avocado oil. Commercial brands typically contain 300 milligrams of the mixture per capsule or tablet. Some combine the oil powder with compounds such as glucosamine, chondroitin, calcium and iron. Other inactive ingredients may include binding agents like maltodextrin, anti-clumping agents such as stearic acid and silicon dioxide, and microcrystalline cellulose, which helps the ingredients blend evenly.
Effect on Arthritis
A number of studies demonstrate that supplementing with avocado soybean unsaponifiables may help treat osteoarthritis, a type of arthritis that involves gradual joint cartilage breakdown and the most common form of the disease. A "Journal of Rheumatology" study published in 2003 showed that the supplement prevents cartilage damage and stimulates repair, while a study published in the "Annals of Rheumatic Diseases" in 2013 determined that avocado soybean unsaponifiables slow hip osteoarthritis. It is not known whether the supplements have any effect on other types of arthritis or whether they are equally effective on joints other than the knees and hips.
Possible Side Effects and Dangers
According to the Arthritis Foundation, avocado soybean unsaponifiables supplements are not linked to any significant side effects. However, there isn't sufficient evidence to prove that the supplements won't exacerbate the symptoms of any medical condition or interact harmfully with prescription drugs or other nutritional supplements. It is not yet known if regularly taking avocado soybean unsaponifiables for a long period of time is safe. Do not use them if you are pregnant, nursing or have a chronic health problem. If the supplements include iron, keep them away from children.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Arthritis
- Arthritis Foundation: Supplement Guide -- Avocado Soybean Unsaponifiables (ASU)
- Vitacost.com: Maximum International Avocado 300 Soy Unsaponifiables with SierraSil - 600 mg - 60 Tablets
- Nutramax Laboratories: Cosamin ASU
- Arthritis Foundation: The Heavy Burden of Arthritis in the U.S.
- The Journal of Rheumatology: Avocado/Soybean Unsaponifiables Increase Aggrecan Synthesis and Reduce Catabolic and Proinflammatory Mediator Production by Human Osteoarthritic Chondrocytes
- Mail Online: Should We Loosen Up With These Joint-Care Supplements?
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Avocados, Raw, All Commercial Varieties
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin E
- University of Michigan Health System: Vitamin E