Effect of a Mediterranean Type Diet on Inflammatory and Cartilage Degradation Biomarkers in Patients with Osteoarthritis

J Nutr Health Aging. 2017;21(5):562-566. doi: 10.1007/s12603-016-0806-y.


Objectives: To investigate the effects of a Mediterranean type diet on patients with osteoarthritis (OA).

Participants: Ninety-nine volunteers with OA (aged 31 - 90 years) completed the study (83% female).

Setting: Southeast of England, UK.

Design: Participants were randomly allocated to the dietary intervention (DIET, n = 50) or control (CON, n = 49). The DIET group were asked to follow a Mediterranean type diet for 16 weeks whereas the CON group were asked to follow their normal diet.

Measurements: All participants completed an Arthritis Impact Measurement Scale (AIMS2) pre-, mid- and post- study period. A subset of participants attended a clinic at the start and end of the study for assessment of joint range of motion, ROM (DIET = 33, CON = 28), and to provide blood samples (DIET = 29, CON = 25) for biomarker analysis (including serum cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (sCOMP) (a marker of cartilage degradation) and a panel of other relevant biomarkers including pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines).

Results: There were no differences between groups in the response of any AIMS2 components and most biomarkers (p > 0.05), except the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-1α, which decreased in the DIET group (~47%, p = 0.010). sCOMP decreased in the DIET group by 1 U/L (~8%, p = 0.014). There was a significant improvement in knee flexion and hip rotation ROM in the DIET group (p < 0.05).

Conclusions: The average reduction in sCOMP in the DIET group (1 U/L) represents a meaningful change, but the longer term effects require further study.

Keywords: AIMS2; Diet; IL-1α; Mediterranean diet; osteoarthritis (OA); sCOMP.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Cartilage / pathology*
  • Cartilage Oligomeric Matrix Protein / blood*
  • Diet, Mediterranean*
  • Female
  • Hip
  • Hip Joint
  • Humans
  • Knee
  • Knee Joint
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis / blood
  • Osteoarthritis / diet therapy*
  • Osteoarthritis / pathology
  • Osteoarthritis, Hip / blood
  • Osteoarthritis, Hip / diet therapy
  • Osteoarthritis, Hip / pathology
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / blood
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / diet therapy
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / pathology
  • Range of Motion, Articular


  • Biomarkers
  • Cartilage Oligomeric Matrix Protein