OsteoarthritisProf. ErnstRheumatoid DiseasesSeleniumVitamins

No convincing evidence for vitamins A, C, E or selenium in treating arthritis

That’s the conclusion from Professor Ernst and colleagues from the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth in the UK.

First, the details.

  • 20 unique studies were considered well designed and worth evaluating — 11 in inflammatory arthritis and 9 in osteoarthritis.

And, the results.
Inflammatory arthritis

  • 2 studies suggested superiority of vitamin E vs placebo.
  • 3 studies reported equivalence between vitamin E and diclofenac (Diovan).
  • Negative results for selenium, vitamin A, and a combination product.


  • 2 shorter-term studies were positive for vitamin E vs placebo.
  • 2 longer-term studies were negative for vitamin E vs placebo.
  • 2 suggested equivalence between vitamin E and diclofenac.
  • Negative results for vitamin A, and a combination product.
  • A positive result for vitamin C was considered of doubtful clinical significance.

The bottom line?
The authors concluded that these contradictory findings are probably the result of poorly designed studies. It leaves us with little of value and a waste of time for the researchers and their patients.

We all deserve better.

7/25/07 20:26 JR

Hi, I’m JR

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.