First question. What are avocado/soybean unsaponifiables (ASU)?
The UK National Library of Health defines ASU as “extracts derived from one-third avocado oil and two-thirds soybean oil.”
Bandolier found 3 studies with positive results when ASU 300 mg per day was combined with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Better pain and function with ASU + NSAIDs compared to placebo + NSAID over 3 to 6 months.
Better pain relief was achieved with lower doses of NSAIDs.
These positive effects took some months to develop.
The negative results in a 4th study came from a population of patients with osteoarthritis of the hip, while the positive studies include both hip and knee or knee osteoarthritis only. The negative hip study was also of longer duration than the others.
The bottom line?
According to Bandolier, “On the evidence we have, it might well make sense [to take ASU with NSAIDs] over the short term.”
It probably makes sense considering the risks of NSAIDs. Of course, we don’t yet know the long term effects effects of ASU..
John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.