MUNCIE, Ind. -- Grandma's favorite gelatin can also help keep athletes' joints healthy, according to a Ball State University study.

Research at Ball State's Human Performance Laboratory showed a gelatin supplement to have a positive effect on joint pain and stiffness in athletes.

David Pearson, associate professor of physical education and a consultant for Nabisco, said the company decided to develop a gelatin supplement to promote healthy joints. Nabisco would market its Nutrajoint supplement under the century-old Knox gelatin brand.

Ball State athletes suffering knee pain were tested last year. Male and female athletes in all sports were included. One group received a placebo while the other group received Nutrajoint for eight weeks.

"Post-test evaluation indicated the Nutrajoint supplement had a significant positive effect on reduction of knee pain," Pearson said.

"If there's one thing that sidelines an athlete quicker than anything

else, it's a joint problem. This shows that a food supplement such as gelatin can reduce joint pain in athletes."

Pearson believes the results are also encouraging to older adults suffering joint pain.

"It's possible that gelatin can repair minor cartilage damage that may result in greater joint problems later," he said. "It's also encouraging to be able to use a food supplement in alleviating joint pain rather than have to resort to prescription drugs."

While the Food and Drug Administration gives gelatin a rating of GRAS (Generally Regarded as Safe), Pearson cautioned that eating gelatin alone is of little benefit.

"The supplement has a greater concentration of gelatin than you would find in the common dessert," he said.

Pearson said the Human Performance Laboratory is proposing to study Ball State faculty and staff diagnosed with arthritis to further determine benefits of the gelatin supplement.

A. Barker 10/26/98

(Note to Editors: For more information about this story or how to reach the source, contact Anthony Barker at 765-285-1560 or [email protected]. For more stories, visit the Ball State University News Center at on the World Wide Web.)