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Can Vitamin E Slow Down the Progression of Osteoarthritis?

30th April 2021
Image of supplements or vitamins Can Vitamin E Slow Down the Progression of Osteoarthritis?

What is Vitamin E?

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin and an antioxidant naturally present in seeds, nuts, and leafy green vegetables. Antioxidants are substances that might protect your cells against the effects of free radicals. It is a nutrient that's important for the health of your blood, brain and skin, and vision. Free radicals are released from the damaged cells of the body Vitamin E being a free radical scavenger, preventing the oxidation of various readily oxidised substances. Hence, vitamin E is crucial for protecting the body from oxidative stress and slowing osteoarthritis progression.

What is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a chronic disorder of the joints that causes degeneration of joints. It is one of the most common causes of joint dysfunction, characterized by articular cartilage destruction, synovitis, and subchondral bone alterations. Many factors contribute to osteoarthritis progression, including increasing age, genes, hormones, and mechanical factors.

The common signs associated with Osteoarthritis include

  • Pain,
  • Stiffness,
  • Restricted motion,
  • crepitus - -a grating sensation caused by friction between bone and cartilage. (1)

Role of Vitamin E in Slowing the Progression of Osteoarthritis:

Vitamin E has shown to be safe and may delay the progression of the disease by acting on several aspects of the disease process. Vitamin E has the ability to protect the body against free radicals because it is a free radical scavenger. Free radicals are molecules with unpaired electrons that destroy the structure of the cartilage by attacking the cartilage cells. Since Vitamin E is a free radical scavenger, it has the capacity to function as a breaking agent for lipid-based radical chains and hence protects against the free-radicals.

Besides being a free radical scavenger, Vitamin E also has other functions that make it the right candidate for slowing down osteoarthritis progress. Vitamin E is crucial for the skeletal muscles' function, as it maintains their functions by slowing down the rate of joint degeneration.

The relationship between Vitamin E and Osteoarthritis can also be seen in a previous study conducted on 20 patients of Osteoarthritis who belonged to an Indian origin. The test on these subjects showed below-average Vitamin E levels, along with a low amount of Vitamin C, Glutathione, and Catalase activity. (2)

Moreover, it also reduces inflammation associated with Osteoarthritis by regulating mast cell stability. Mast cells are a type of immune cell that can be activated by numerous non-immune processes such as acute stress. Since mast cells are present in the joints, they take part in a variety of inflammatory diseases that affect the skin and joints and are suggested to be involved in inflammatory arthritis.

Furthermore, Vitamin E has been shown to reduce the degradation and remodeling of Osteoarthritis by protecting the subchondral vascular system. Some studies have also shown that Vitamin E maintains the sex organ functions, which in turn delays the progression of arthritis.

Vitamin E Sources and Doses:

Vitamin E is present in a lot of natural resources. Some Vitamin E-rich foods include vegetable oils such as olive, corn, and sunflower oil. Seafood also contains rich amounts of Vitamin E, including salmon, mackerel, and herring. Mangos, Currants, and avocados are also some fruits that are good sources of vitamin E.

Vitamin E supplements are safe when administered in recommended doses. Doses of 100–300 mg/day have been seen to be well tolerated and cause no side effects. Doses of 200–400 mg/day have been recommended for use in food supplements, and higher amounts of 400–2,000 mg/day, under certain circumstances, have not been shown to exhibit any side effects in most cases.

Hence, when used in appropriate doses, Vitamin E may be an effective and favorable treatment option for Osteoarthritis due to its ability to delay osteoarthritis progression and promote pain relief in patients.

Side effects of Vitamin E:

When taken at appropriate doses, oral use of vitamin E is generally considered safe. Rarely, oral vitamin E can cause few side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, intestinal cramps, headache, weakness, fatigue, blurred vision, rash, and increased creatine in the urine. Higher than recommended doses of vitamin E might increase the risk of side effects.


If used in appropriate doses, Vitamin E may have a potent therapeutic effect for Osteoarthritis due to its ability to delay the condition's progression. It does this by various methods, including maintenance of skeletal muscles, stabilization of mast cells, maintenance of the sex organ function, regulation of the metabolism of nucleic acid, and protection of the subchondral vascular system. Vitamin E can act as an effective and favorable treatment candidate for Osteoarthritis, leading to pain relief in patients.


  • Li XI, Dong Z, Zhang F, Dong J, Zhang Y. Vitamin E slows down the progression of Osteoarthritis. Exp Ther Med. 2016;12(1):18-22. doi:10.3892/etm.2016.3322
  • Surapaneni KM, Venkataramana G. Status of lipid peroxidation, glutathione, ascorbic acid, vitamin E and antioxidant enzymes in patients with Osteoarthritis. Indian J Med Sci. 2007 Jan;61(1):9-14. doi: 10.4103/0019-5359.29592. PMID: 17197733.

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