Friday, May 23, 2014

Grapes to Lessen Knee Pain? What About Bee Venom?

The odd things that, um, cross my desk:
New research presented last week at the Experimental Biology conference in San Diego, California, suggests that regular grape consumption may help alleviate pain associated with symptomatic osteoarthritis of the knee, and improve joint flexibility and overall mobility. Researchers attribute these potential benefits to the polyphenols found in grapes.

Well, at first glance, it sounds more or less like a real study.

For 16 weeks, 72 men and women with knee osteoarthritis either consumed whole grape freeze-dried powder, or a placebo powder. The study, conducted by researchers from Texas Woman’s University, found that subjects on the grape-rich diet “had a significant decrease in self-reported pain related to activity and an overall decrease in total knee symptoms.”

Further, at least for the men, there was also “evidence of increased cartilage metabolism.” They had higher levels of an important cartilage growth factor.

Also, the serum marker for inflammation was elevated for both groups, but less so for the grape-powder takers.

Now on to the bee venom:

A study being undertaken in Oklahoma City aims to find out whether bee venom will “take the sting out of knee pain,” as this article reports.

The venom is mixed with the anesthetic Lidocaine so the injection won’t hurt.

Apparently the use of bee venom to treat joint pain and arthritis goes all the way back to Hippocrates, the Greek physician.

So will bee venom work?

Are grapes really worth adding to your diet to treat aching knees?

I don’t know. Honestly, there are so many foods/supplements/substances that are supposed to relieve knee pain that it’s just about impossible to keep track of them.

Of course some may be genuinely beneficial. But I start at a position of skepticism from personal experience: no supplement or herb or fruit or vegetable ever helped me with my knee pain.

But even if they did, in the long run, you want more than intermittent relief of symptoms. You want to cure the problem. You want a stronger knee that doesn’t hurt as much in the first place. If your knee isn’t as painful, you won’t have to worry about taking powdered grapes or getting shot up with bee venom to get through the night. And the best way to get healthier knees, I’m convinced, is through a smart, motion-based program.


  1. I just finished reading your book and I am very intrigued and excited about trying it. I have been to 6 doctors, a personal trainer, 2 physical therapists and a chiropractor, all with no improvement. Many, many things you said in the book really resonated with me because I've heard them recently from doctors. "Your knee will never get better." "Cartilage doesn't heal". "Try strengthening your quads, hamstrings and VMO".

    I have been battling this for almost 18 years now, but it's gotten a lot worse recently. Thanks for your sound advice and for providing hope. Now I just need to give it a try to hopefully get results. Luckily I am very patient and I take a scientific approach to things.

  2. Hope you find success. Being patient and observant are two keys to success, I think. Check back in and let us know how you're doing, and what's working (or not working). Cheers.