Avocado Soybean Unsaponifiables (ASU) for Osteoarthritis

ASU may slow progression of osteoarthritis

Avocado cut open laying on a table

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Avocado soybean unsaponifiables (often referred to as ASU) are a natural vegetable extract made from avocado and soybean oils. ASU has been shown to have beneficial effects on some symptoms of osteoarthritis and it may slow down the progression of the condition.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, ASU is considered safe and effective for people who have osteoarthritis. Often known by the brand name Piascledine, ASU supplements are available over the counter (OTC) as capsules that are taken by mouth.

What Studies Shown About Avocado Soybean Unsaponifiables

There have been a number of human research studies and many animal studies evaluating the effect of ASU on osteoarthritis, including knee osteoarthritis and hip osteoarthritis. Results have generally been promising in terms of the improvement of symptoms, and there have not been documented side effects or safety issues.

For example, a 6-month research study evaluated the effects of ASU on women who had temporomandibular joint osteoarthritis. During the 6-month trial, participants who used ASU experienced decreased pain, improved quality of life, and reported reduced use of pain medications, such as NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), when compared to participants who did not use ASU.

Another 3-year study followed a group of participants who had hip osteoarthritis. The group that used ASU had slightly less progression of joint space width (JSW) than those who did not use the supplement. Increasing JSW is measured using imaging tests, and it is widely considered a reflection of worsening osteoarthritis. Over the 3 year period, no safety issues were noted.

Experts suggest that the use of ASU may also be beneficial when taken prophylactically during the early stages of osteoarthritis.

Dosage and Use

The recommended dose of ASU supplement for osteoarthritis is 300 mg soft gel daily. It can be taken with water and it is recommended that you take it with food. There are no additional benefits noted with doses higher than 300 mg.

ASU can be taken alone or with other medications used in the treatment of osteoarthritis. The combination of ASU and glucosamine/chondroitin sulfate is widely considered safe and may enhance the effects of treatment.

It may take at least two months before you notice any improvement in your symptoms after starting ASU. You may also experience lasting symptom relief for approximately 2 months after you stop the treatment.

And If you take ASU, be sure to include it on your list of medications. While this supplement does not have apparent side effects, it is not recommended for children, pregnant women, or anyone with a serious liver or kidney condition.

How It Works

ASU contains one-third avocado and two-thirds soybean unsaponifiables. Eating avocado and soy, even in large amounts, does not provide enough of the unsaponifiables to induce a beneficial effect on osteoarthritis. This is believed to be because only a small fraction of the oil is the unsaponifiable portion.

Interestingly, experts are not sure which specific chemical in this combination is the active ingredient, and it could be a chemical created by the combination of ingredients.

The effects of ASU include the reduction of cartilage breakdown as well as the promotion of cartilage repair.

ASU decreases inflammation, and it has specifically been found to decrease the inflammatory cells and proteins that play a role in cartilage destruction in osteoarthritis.

A Word From Verywell

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition that progresses over the years, causing pain, discomfort, and decreased mobility due to cartilage breakdown. There are a number of OTC and prescription medications, as well as supplements, recommended for symptom control and to slow the progression of the disease.

Currently, ASU is considered a beneficial option in the treatment of osteoarthritis, but it is not yet clear whether the benefits are long-lasting or how long a person should continue to use the supplement. Be sure to discuss any supplement that you are considering with your doctor before you start taking it.

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