We’ve known for years that if you’re on the heavy side, your risk of developing knee osteoarthritis (OA) is higher than if you’re slim.
And it makes sense that carrying around excess weight would cause more wear and tear on your knees.
But the latest research is blowing that theory right out of the water – because according to a new study, the strain that obesity put on your JOINTS isn’t the reason for the increased risk of OA.
It’s the strain obesity puts on your GUT!
In the study, University of Rochester researchers induced osteoarthritis in both lean and obese mice by injuring their knee cartilage.
It turned out that the osteoarthritis in the obese mice progressed MUCH MORE quickly than in the lean mice — which is pretty much what we’d expect.
But researchers also found that the obese mice’s guts were overrun by nasty bugs known to ramp up inflammation throughout the body… while the lean mice’s guts were dominated by “good” bacteria known to tamp down inflammation.
Now, here’s where the study got really interesting. Researchers fed the obese mice a prebiotic called oligofructose to see if they could turn back the clock on the condition.
Now, if you’ve been reading my eTips for a while now, you know that “prebiotics” are nutrients that encourage the good bugs in your belly to grow.
And lo and behold – the mice that took the prebiotics saw an explosion of new populations of beneficial bacteria that were able to restore balance in the gut flora and crowd out the bad guys.
What’s more, their systemic inflammation decreased… their cartilage breakdown slowed… and their knee OA symptoms were completely REVERSED.
In fact, after the obese mice ate the prebiotic, their guts AND joints were as healthy as those in the lean mice – without shedding a single pound!
Now, there are plenty of OTHER good reasons to keep your weight-loss plans intact, because obesity ups your risk for everything from heart disease to diabetes to cancer.
But even if losing weight is a work in progress, these results suggest that you can get relief from knee OA right NOW by balancing the bacteria in your gut.
Eating prebiotic-rich foods like garlic, onions, leeks, and asparagus can nourish your good gut bacteria.
You can also send beneficial bugs straight to your belly by eating fermented foods like yogurt and sauerkraut or taking probiotic supplements.
In fact, you can often find prebiotics AND probiotics together in one supplement.
Just be sure to avoid sugars and refined grains, which not only expand your waistline… but also fuel the BAD bugs in your gut.