Before 1996 glucosamine and chondroitin weren't household words. Thanks to the groundbreaking book, The Arthritis Cure, by Dr. Jason Theodosakis millions of people found relief for their symptoms from these two supplements. Another natural remedy for arthritis featured in that book is a vegetable extract made from avocado and soybean oils, avocado soybean unsaponifiables (ASU).

What are Avocado Soybean Unsaponifiables?

More commonly referred to as ASU, this natural supplement is actually a mixture of many different plant substances, not just one molecule or compound, explains Dr. Theodosakis. However, you can't get enough avocado soybean unsaponifiables by eating avocados and soybeans, because ASU comes from a small fraction of the natural oils in avocado and soybeans. It's also not easily absorbed during digestion in its natural state.

How do Avocado Soybean Unsaponifiables Work?

While ASU has been used in Europe to treat arthritis for nearly two decades, research into the supplement is in its infancy. Studies show that it has anti-inflammatory effects and helps to protect and repair joint cartilage. Plus, it significantly reduces the progression of joint space loss.

Scientists believe that phytosterols are the active ingredients in ASU. Phytoesterols are plant sterols and stanols that are compounds in plant cell membranes that act similarly to cholesterol in humans. Other compounds in avocado soybean unsaponifiables that may play a role are tocopherols, which include various forms of vitamin.

Research on Avocado Soybean Unsaponifiables

Several studies have been conducted on ASU and are very promising. One study published in Arthritis & Rheumatism investigated how ASU affects osteoarthritis in the knee and hip. Of the 164 study participants, 85 received ASU and 79 took a placebo for six months. They also weren't allowed to take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) during the 15 days leading up to the study.

After six months, 144 patients were evaluated and researchers found that the ASU group experienced more significant pain reduction and required fewer NSAIDs than the placebo group. Overall functional disability was significantly reduced in the ASU group and the effects of the treatment continued at the eight-month mark. People with hip arthritis experienced greater improvement than those with knee osteoarthritis.

Another study found that treatment with 300 mg or 600 mg of ASU daily was consistently superior to placebo, and both dosages were equally effective.

What Are the Side Effects of Avocado Soybean Unsaponifiables?

Several of the studies on ASU indicate that it's generally well tolerated. Some users report experiencing stomach aches. You might also suffer from rashes or hives if you have a soy or avocado allergy.

How Much Avocado Soybean Unsaponifiables Do You Need?

According to the Arthritis Foundation Supplement Guide you should take 300 mg of ASU daily to combat osteoarthritis. You can find this natural supplement in capsule or pill form on its own, or in combination with other supplements such as glucosamine, chondroitin or methylsulfonylmethane (MSM).

Study References

Journal Name: Arthritis & Rheumatism, Vol. 41(1), pp. 81-91

Study Date: January 1998

Study Name: Symptomatic efficacy of avocado soybean unsaponifiables in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee and hip.


Authors: Maheu E, Mazières B, Valat JP, Loyau G, Le Loët X, Bourgeois P, Grouin JM, Rozenberg S

Journal Name: Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology, Vol. 30(4), pp. 242-7

Study Date: 2001

Study Name: Symptoms modifying effect of avocado soybean unsaponifiables (ASU) in knee osteoarthritis. A double-blind, prospective, placebo-controlled study.


Authors: Appelboom T, Schuermans J, Verbruggen G, Henrotin Y, Reginster JY