The effect of a garlic supplement on the pro-inflammatory adipocytokines, resistin and tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and on pain severity, in overweight or obese women with knee osteoarthritis

Phytomedicine. 2018 Sep 15:48:70-75. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2018.04.060. Epub 2018 May 9.


Background: Osteoarthritis (OA) is a prevalent degenerative joint disease, which is associated with chronic and disabling pain. The adipocytokines, resistin and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), might play a role in OA pathogenesis and outcomes.

Purpose: The aim of this study was, therefore, to assess the anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of a garlic supplement on serum resistin and TNF-α concentrations and on pain severity in overweight or obese women with knee OA.

Study design: Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-design trial.

Methods: In this study, 80 post-menopausal overweight or obese women (25 ≤ BMI ≤ 40 kg/m2, age 50-75 years) with mild to moderate knee OA were enrolled. Patients were randomly divided into two groups to receive twice-daily either garlic tablets (total: 1000 mg) or placebo for 12 weeks. The primary outcome measures were fasting serum concentrations of resistin and TNF-α, and pain severity (assessed using 0-10 point visual analogue scale (VAS)).

Results: At week 12, resistin concentrations were significantly decreased in the garlic group (6.41 ± 2.40 to 5.56 ± 2.16 ng/ml; P = 0.008). Serum TNF-α levels did not change significantly within or between the two groups. Pain scores were significantly reduced in the garlic (6.8 ± 2 to 5.3 ± 2.3; P = 0.002), but not in the placebo (6.7 ± 2.4 to 6.2 ± 2.5; P = 0.674), group. Pain scores were also significantly lower in the garlic, compared with the placebo, group following supplementation (5.3 ± 2.3 vs. 6.2 ± 2.5; P = 0.043).

Conclusions: The findings suggest that garlic supplementation for 12 weeks might reduce pain severity in overweight or obese women with knee OA, which may, at least in part, be mediated via a reduction in the pro-inflammatory adipocytokine, resistin.

Keywords: Adipokine; Garlic; Inflammation; Joint pain; Obesity; Osteoarthritis.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adipokines / metabolism*
  • Aged
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Garlic*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / drug therapy*
  • Overweight / complications*
  • Pain / drug therapy
  • Pain Measurement
  • Resistin / metabolism*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism*


  • Adipokines
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • RETN protein, human
  • Resistin
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha