Beet Beats Pain Meds

Vegetable’s anti-inflammatory mechanism of action is similar to synthetic drugs

Woman buying beets

Woman buying beets

The beet, a vibrant, quirky vegetable that causes people to either rejoice with enthusiasm or recoil in horror, is packed with anti-inflammatory compounds, paving a new road for pain and inflammation management, particularly associated with osteoarthritis.

Beets contain a phytonutrient called betalain (red or yellow pigments) that has antioxidant properties to reduce inflammation. According to the research from the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, “Betalains and beetroot extracts have emerged as potent anti-inflammatory agents... This raises the possibility that betanin [within the betalain family]-rich beetroot supplements, in sufficient doses, could exhibit anti-inflammatory effects to rival synthetic drugs.”

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In a recent study featured in News Med, participants experiencing osteoarthritis symptoms and suffering from chronic pain were treated with red beet Extract (RBE) for 10 days twice per day. At the end of the study, “all subjects reported reduced pain level,” demonstrating that “ingestion of RBE (red beet extract), at dosages greater than 35 mg, had a beneficial effect on pain associated with OA conditions.”

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Further support is indicated in a 2014 study shared in Food Chemistry, concluding that, “betalains target cell signaling pathways at the molecular level, acting in a similar fashion to selective COX-2 inhibitor drugs.”

ReferencesCliffard, Tom, Glyn Howatson, Daniel J West, and Emma J Stevenson. (2015). The Potential Benefits of Red Beetroot Supplementation in Health and Disease. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. Nutrients. 4.7: 2801-2822. Pietrzkowski, Z & Nemzer, B & Spórna-Kucab, Aneta & Stalica, Paweł & Treser, W & Keller, R & Jimenez, R & Michałowski, Tadeusz & Wybraniec, Sławomir. (2010). Influence of betalain-rich extract on reduction of discomfort associated with osteoarthritis. New Med.1. 12-17. Vidal P.J., López-Nicolás J.M., Gandía-Herrero F., García-Carmona F. (2014). Inactivation of lipoxygenase and cyclooxygenase by natural betalains and semi-synthetic analogues. Food. Chem. 154:246–254. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2014.01.014.
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