ASU (Unsaponifiable Part of Avocado and Soybean)

ASU is a natural vegetable extract made from one-third avocado oil and two-thirds soybean oil. It may slow the progression of osteoarthritis. ASU blocks pro-inflammatory chemicals, prevents deterioration of synovial cells (which line the joints) and may help regenerate normal connective tissue.

ASU mixed in a ratio of 1:2 has been studied in the treatment of osteoarthritis and other connective tissue disorders. ASU has been studied extensively studied in Europe, where it is routinely used to treat OA.

ASU was administered for 45 days in a three-month prospective, randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial and decreased the total dose of NSAIDs required. The trial consisted of 164 patients with knee or hip osteoarthritis. NSAIDs include medications such as Advil, Aspirin, Motrin, Ibuprofen, Aleve, Naprosyn, Daypro, Feldene, Piroxicam, and etcetera.

A 2003 study published in the Journal of Rheumatology reported ASU inhibited the breakdown of cartilage and promoted repair.

A six-month randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial consisted of 114 patients with knee osteoarthritis and 50 patients with hip osteoarthritis. The patients received 300 mg/per day of ASU or a placebo, followed by a two-month post-treatment follow up. Compared to the placebo group, patients who received ASU demonstrated less pain and disability. This persisted throughout the trial and four eight months beyond.

A 2008 meta-analysis found that ASU improved symptoms of hip and knee OA and reduced or eliminated the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

A large, three-year study published in 2013 in the BMJ (British Medical Journal) showed that ASU reduced progression of hip OA compared with placebo.

The French government has tracked ASU’s safety record for over 15 years and has yet to find any significant problems.

Mild gastrointestinal discomfort may occur with ASU use. There is insufficient data on drug interactions.

The dosage is 300 mg daily as a soft gel. Talk to your doctor before using ASU.

Tania Faruque MD is the medical director of Palomar Spine & Pain, in Escondido, CA (North San Diego County).

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