Arthritis could soon be relieved by chemicals found in mushrooms, according to German and Vietnamese scientists.
The research is reported in the latest edition of the Royal Society of Chemistry's journal Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry.
A research team led by Christian Hertweck at the Leibniz Institute for Natural Products Research and Infection Biology, Jena, Germany, have identified compounds in mushrooms which they say are capable of treating rheumatoid and gouty arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis affects around one in 50 people in the UK, with gouty arthritis affecting one in 200. Drugs currently on the market can cause infrequent but severe side effects.
The inflammation of joints and tissues in these common diseases are controlled by enzymes in the body. The researchers claim the compounds they have identified can block the action of the specific enzymes which cause the inflammation.
In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, drugs currently on the market block the body's uptake of the inflammation causing enzyme. Gouty arthritis is caused by too much uric acid in the blood - and drugs work by blocking the enzyme responsible for forming this acid.
Hertweck said: "The compounds extracted from the mushrooms show similar enzyme blocking activity to the leading drugs on the market."
with thanks to Nina Athey-Pollard for the original article