Strawberries Improve Pain and Inflammation in Obese Adult with Radiographic Evidence of Knee Osteoarthritis


Osteoarthritis (OA) also known as degenerative joint disease or degeneration arthritis. It is the most common type of arthritis that is chronic and painful, usually affecting any joint. OA occurs when the cartilage that cushions the end portions of our bone in the joints gradually deteriorates. One of the known key players in osteoarthritis is obesity.


Obesity is a condition of abnormal or excessive fat accumulation in adipose tissue which usually causes health impairment. It has been strongly correlated with knee osteoarthritis.



There has been an economic burden of obesity that includes its associated health consequences, specifically knee OA which was focused in this study. Possible causes considered are increase in physical inactivity due to the growing number of sedentary nature of many forms of work, transportation and urbanization.



The primary goal of this study is to examine the effects of freeze-dried strawberries on pain scores assessed by Visual Analog Scale for Pain (VAS Pain), Intermittent and Constant OA Pain (ICOAP) Survey, and in selected biomarkers of inflammation and cartilage degeneration (associated with OA).



This article used a crossover study, with its participants being that are obese (BMI 30 kg/m2), has a large waist circumference of 35in for women and 40in for men, those also with radiological evidence of mild to moderate bilateral primary knee OA and degenerative OA were included. Exclusions were also mentioned.


Recruitment was done through campus-wide email and physician referrals. Random assignment into two study groups over a 26-week period (strawberry and control) were done. An active treatment phase and control powder phase were monitored with 12 weeks intervention (2 weeks washout). The former was given 50-g freeze-dried strawberry powder mixed in water (equivalent to 500-g of fresh strawberries), and the latter was given a powder with similar formulation as the strawberry powder. Beverage was to be consumed as a snack alone, twice a day, 6-8 hours apart. Compliance was assessed by returning unused test agents during the mandatory clinic visit, three times a week. ICOAP survey, VAS Pain Score and HAQ-DI were used to assess pain scores and as quality life indicators.



This is the first clinical study on effects of dietary berries as a nutritional supplement on pain scores and key biomarker inflammation in obese adults. Among 35 participants, 17 qualified and completed the 26-week study. A multi-questionnaire approach was done which revealed markedly decreased constant, intermittent and total knee postscores. In conclusion to this, improvement in pain and inflammation in obese adults having mild to moderate knee OA was evident in those who were given the strawberry powder which has bioactive compounds, rich in polyphenol and nutrients. Simple lifestyle modification may also be beneficial to those affected.

Schell J, Scofield RH, Barrett JR, et al. Strawberries Improve Pain and Inflammation in Obese Adults with Radiographic Evidence of Knee Osteoarthritis. Nutrients. 2017;9(9):949. Published 2017 Aug 28. doi:10.3390/nu9090949

Share this article