To Your Health

Are there any solid studies to show that the 'new' Litozin rose hips can alleviate or even 'cure' osteoarthritis?

Q. Are there any solid studies to show that the "new" Litozin rose hips can alleviate or even "cure" osteoarthritis?

A. Rose hips are the fruits, usually red, that develop on rose bushes after the flower petals drop off. All roses produce the fruit, but the wild rose, also called dog rose, produces the largest and most valued fruit. They contain several hundred times as much vitamin C as oranges, as well as generous amounts of the bioflavonoids that help vitamin C to work better, and have long been used in folk medicine to prevent and treat colds.

In the early Eighties, Erik Hansen in Denmark began to make and sell a dried rose hips powder using a special, now patented, process that yielded especially high amounts of a unique anti-inflammatory substance. This material, a fat-soluble "galactolipid," has been named Litozin in America and is now being marketed as a food ingredient. Dr. Kaj Winther, an inflammation specialist, has become interested in it and is doing clinical trials to confirm its effectiveness as a pain reliever.

In Europe, under the trade name Hyben Vital, Dr. Winther has used Litozin in two double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trials as a pain reliever for osteoarthritis patients. Results of the first study were published in the July 2004 issue of Phytomedicine, and his most recent study results are published in the August 2005 issue of the Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology. In both studies, 2.5 grams per day of the standardized rose hips powder were given to about 100 osteoarthritis sufferers. In both studies, those receiving rose hips powder were able to reduce their use of what the researchers called their "rescue medicines," the conventional pain relievers that were backups to the study medicine.

Osteoarthritis is the "wear and tear" type of joint damage that affects millions of mostly elderly people worldwide. To differentiate it from rheumatoid arthritis, it is sometimes called "noninflammatory arthritis," suggesting that there is no inflammation or swelling, but recent research shows that this is not the case. It is still generally treated with anti-inflammatory drugs such as Vioxx, although concerns over the safety of such drugs have arisen recently. If safe and effective "natural" alternatives to conventional prescription anti-inflammatory drugs can be found, it is likely that a large number of people would prefer to use something like Litozin.

Litozin provides more than just vitamin C. Since it is derived from food, it also has a number of substances that are known to be beneficial in various ways, such as organic acids (citric acid, malic acid, etc.) and proanthocyanidins (potent antioxidants), as well as several bioflavonoids.

Since osteoarthritis is more a condition than a disease, "curing" it involves more than relieving the pain. The real goal is to restore the tough, elastic cartilage in our joints to its youthful condition, undamaged and allowing unrestricted movement. Although Litozin rose hips can apparently relieve pain and may also contribute to the healing process, it may be even more effective when combined with other healing nutrients.

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