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Vitamin D may not offer benefits to seniors with osteoarthritis after all

January 10, 2013

Osteoarthritis (OA) in the knee is a common part of senior living that can make healthy aging difficult, and many older adults are continually looking for effective treatments. However, new research suggests that vitamin D does not offer as many benefits as researchers may have once thought.

The study was led by a team of doctors from Boston's Tufts Medical Center, and was aimed at assessing whether vitamin D supplements could limit the progression of OA. Researchers found that, over the course of two years, there was no significant difference between study participants who were given supplements and those who received a placebo.

"Knee osteoarthritis is a common age-related musculoskeletal disorder that has significant functional impact and has considerable societal costs through work loss, early retirement, and arthroplasty," the authors wrote. "Despite its impact, there are no medical treatments established to influence the course of the disease."

Although vitamin D supplements may not be an effective method at reducing arthritis pain, there are some other treatments seniors can try to reduce their symptoms. According to the Mayo Clinic, gentle exercises such as walking or swimming can help strengthen the muscles around joints. Additionally, making use of assistive devices can help reduce pain.