Osteoarthritis (OA) affects 240 million people globally. Few studies have examined the links between osteoarthritis and the Mediterranean diet (MD). The aim of this paper was to systematically review and analyze the epidemiological evidence in humans on the MD and its association with OA. A systematic search of EMBASE identified three studies that explored the association between MD and OA. Two of them were cross-sectional and the third one was a 16-week randomized clinical trial. Prisma declaration was followed to carry out this review. These studies described a positive association between a higher adherence to a MD and the quality of life of participants suffering OA. The prevalence of OA was lower in participants with a higher adherence to a Mediterranean diet. Biomarkers of inflammation and cartilage degradation related to OA were also analyzed and significant differences were detected only for IL1-α, which decreased in the MD group. Exploring the relationship between MD and OA is complex, moreover, the limited evidence and methodological differences in such studies makes it difficult to compare results. In conclusion, the three studies included in this systematic review demonstrated some relation between osteoarthritis and a Mediterranean diet. However, prospective and longer interventions are required to evaluate the long-term efficacy of the Mediterranean diet to improve symptomatology and preventing osteoarthritis.
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