Osteoarthritis in the hip and knees is painful, and some pharmaceuticals may help. But they can also contribute to stomach pain and heart problems. That’s why thousands of people are turning to natural products that don’t have these side effects.
While many people find relief from their pain, studies on the effectiveness of these products are inconclusive. A recent Swiss study published in the British Medical Journal says that glucosamine and chondroitin — the most popular supplements for inflammation — don’t reduce joint pain from arthritis.
The researchers admit that these supplements are not dangerous, but say that insurance companies shouldn’t reimburse patients for them. Instead, people in pain should pay for pharmaceuticals with known side effects, even if these natural products have been helpful in the past. In addition, the researchers caution doctors to stick to prescribing drugs.
A number of studies found that glucosamine, chondroitin, or both just plain don’t work. But other studies — and millions of patients — say they do. In fact, the sales of both supplements worldwide jumped a full 60% between 2003 and 2008.
How do the authors of this study explain these perceived benefits? Either the arthritis in these patients progressed at a slower rate, they say, or perhaps it’s due the placebo effect.
Come on! The placebo effect tends to last for only 30 days!
If you have hip or knee pain, my first recommendation is to see an osteopath — a physician who can evaluate you for a structural imbalance like lax ligaments. If this is the source of your pain, consider prolotherapy — a treatment that permanently tightens ligaments and holds your hip or knee in place. I’ve written about prolotherapy before in past articles, which you can find on my website. This treatment might cure you of all joint pain so you don’t need to take anything.
But if your problem is inflammation, glucosamine and/or chondroitin could help. Try taking Advanced Joint Support or Reduloxin. Personally, I prefer the anti-inflammatory action of Reduloxin, but since both come with a complete money-back guarantee you may want to give each of them a three-month trial and see which works best for you.
Don’t believe the people who say these natural substances don’t work. Thousands of people know they do. Perhaps someday more doctors will listen to their patients and realize this as well.
By Dr. Nan Kathryn Fuchs PhD
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