In 2004, a special mixture of fats called cetylated fatty acids began to be widely marketed as a treatment for osteoarthritis. Although the claims associated with this product appear to exceed what has actually been proven, it is fair to say that cetylated fatty acids have shown definite promise in preliminary trials.
Cetylated fatty acids are used both orally and as a topical cream.
A typical oral dose of cetylated fatty acids is 1,000 to 2,000 mg daily. Cetylated fatty acid creams are applied two to four times daily to the affected area.
Three double-blind, placebo-controlled studies have found cetylated fatty acids helpful for osteoarthritis . Two involved a topical product, and one used an oral formulation.
In one of the studies using that used a cream preparation, 40 people with osteoarthritis of the knee applied either cetylated fatty acids or placebo to the affected joint.
In another 30-day study, also enrolling 40 people with knee arthritis, use of cetylated fatty acid cream improved postural stability, presumably due to decreased pain levels.
In addition, a 68-day, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 64 people with knee arthritis tested an oral cetylated fatty acid supplement (the supplement also contained lesser amounts of
While this is a promising body of research, it is far from definitive. Current advertising claims for cetylated fatty acids go far beyond the existing evidence. For example, a number of websites claim that cetylated fatty acids are more effective than
It's not known how cetylated fatty acids might help osteoarthritis. Proponents cite the known benefits of
Cetylated fatty acids appear to have a low level of toxicity, according to safety studies conducted by the primary manufacturer. 5-7
2. Kraemer WJ, Ratamess NA, Maresh CM, et al. Effects of treatment with a cetylated fatty acid topical cream on static postural stability and plantar pressure distribution in patients with knee osteoarthritis. J Strength Cond Res . 2005;19:115–121.
4. A preliminary study for the use of Celadrin™ for the treatment of psoriasis. Available at: http://www.celadrin.com/studies/SafetyHumans.pdfSafety Issues. Accessed June 3, 2005.
Last reviewed April 2009 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
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