ASU (AVOCADO/SOYBEAN UNSAPONIFIABLES 2:1)
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a painful and life-altering disease that severely limits the daily activities of millions of individuals worldwide. With obesity on the rise and the world’s population living longer, the prevalence of OA is expected to increase dramatically in the coming decades, generating burdensome socioeconomic costs. This review summarizes current pharmaceutical, nonpharmaceutical, and prospective new treatments for OA, with primary focus on the dietary supplement avocado/soybean unsaponifiables (ASU).
ASU modulates OA pathogenesis by inhibiting a number of molecules and pathways implicated in OA. Anticatabolic properties prevent cartilage degradation by inhibiting the release and activity of matrix metalloproteinases and increasing tissue inhibitors of these catabolic enzymes. ASU also inhibits fibrinolysis by stimulating the expression of plasminogen activator inhibitor.
Anabolic properties promote cartilage repair by stimulating collagen and aggrecan synthesis via inhibition of inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin (IL)-1, IL-6, IL-8, tumor necrosis factor, ERK, and prostaglandin E2. Chondroprotective effects are mediated by correcting growth factor abnormalities, increasing TGF-β, and decreasing vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in synovial fluid. ASU also inhibits cholesterol absorption and endogenous cholesterol biosynthesis, which mediate reactive oxygen species pathology in chondrocytes.
At the clinical level, ASU reduces pain and stiffness while improving joint function, resulting in decreased dependence on analgesics.
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) has become a popular dietary supplement used for a variety of purposes, including its most common use as an anti-inflammatory agent. It has been well-investigated in animal models, as well as in human clinical trials and experiments. A variety of health-specific outcome measures are improved with MSM supplementation, including inflammation, joint/muscle pain, oxidative stress, and antioxidant capacity. Initial evidence is available regarding the dose of MSM needed to provide benefit, although additional work is underway to determine the precise dose and time course of treatment needed to provide optimal benefits. As a Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) approved substance, MSM is well-tolerated by most individuals at dosages of up to four grams daily, with few known and mild side effects. This review provides an overview of MSM, with details regarding its common uses and applications as a dietary supplement, as well as its safety for consumption.
MSM is a naturally occurring organosulfur compound with broad biological effects. Human absorption and biosynthesis of this compound likely depends heavily on the co-metabolism between microbiota and host. Whether naturally produced or manufactured, MSM exhibits no biochemical differences in its ability to intermediate oxidative stress and inflammation. This micronutrient is well tolerated for arthritis and a number of other conditions related to inflammation, physical function, and performance. Emerging research suggests that MSM may one day aid in the treatment of various types of cancer.