This is not really a news flash, as it was known nearly a decade ago.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (a division of the National Institute of Health, or NIH) report on best evidence for use of glucosamine and chondroitin for joint pain, the effect on symptoms of pain or prevention of joint destruction is no better than placebo.1
Despite the widespread popularity of glucosamine and chondroitin supplements for joint health, the evidence for their effectiveness in joint health is limited.2,3
As I referenced before, this conclusion comes from the Glucosamine/Chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (GAIT) – the largest study ever performed (16 major hospital and academic Rheumatology centers, $12.5 million dollars, and more than 1500 patients) to look at the effectiveness of G/C supplementation.
Although shown in the study to have no significant harmful effects when taken, other than possibly raising blood sugar, it was no better than placebo.
Despite that information published almost a decade ago, it remains one of the top-selling supplements in the United States.
Why? For the reasons you already know.
- Approximately 30 million people in the U.S. suffer from joint pain due to osteoarthritis.
- Many people like you are (smartly) looking for alternatives to “arthritis pills”, or commonly indicated medications that simply mask the symptoms.
- Supplement companies have million-dollar market budgets – and continue to push “arthritis supplements” heavily because they are cheap to mass-produce and yield huge profits.
Every day in my Integrative Orthopedics practice here in Tucson I take a more progressive, and what I believe to be a more comprehensive approach, to treating joint pain.
Well-balanced foundational nutrition devoid of inflammatory and chemical foods is so critical to healing joint inflammation, treating pain, and preventing degeneration. Daily nutritional support with the correct combination of nutrients is key for the body to heal from the inside out.
Glucosamine and chondroitin are key components for joint health:
Glucosamine – Works to help retain more water in the cartilage to make it more resilient to daily wear and impact. It is made naturally by the body if you supply the necessary building block nutrients to do so.
Chondroitin – Found in healthy cartilage, and within the joint fluid, also works to retain water within the cartilage structure, or matrix. It cannot be manufactured by the body so must be supplemented.
With old G/C supplements showing limited returns for improving symptoms in patients, we must think about the additional components or nutrients that are critical for optimal joint health.
Focusing on just one, or in the case of G/C, two components or nutrients, has not yielded the best result. Although they are important, the chemistry in the joint and surrounding tissues is a much more complex orchestra of components and chemical reactions.
We must bring other components into that orchestra to increase the likelihood of having the effect you desire – less pain, less stiffness, and more resilient joints.
You already know about omega-3 fatty acids and why they are a key player in joint health, as well as balancing the underlying inflammation in many other disease processes.
Last year I started working with a new company offering a brand new type of Joint Health formula.
It is the first supplement formula I have come across in my research containing multiple components compromising the key cellular building blocks of joint tissue and fluid.
Each component in the formula has a specific role to support joint health, resiliency, and regeneration:
- Dermatan – a building block of muscle tendons and joint cartilage
- Keratin sulfate – act in the joint as a cushion to absorb shock
- Hyaluronic acid – main component in joint fluid
- Naturally occurring glycosaminoglycans – improve the lubrication of the joints
- Bioactive collagen proteins – the main building block of joint connective tissue
Additionally, Joint Health formula contains:
NEM® brand eggshell membrane. This is a novel first of its kind dietary supplement component that contains naturally occurring proteins essential for maintaining healthy articular cartilage and the surrounding synovial tissue (membrane).
Protease Blend. This enzyme blend promotes increases musculoskeletal and immune system health, aids protein digestion for increased bioavailability of essential amino acids, and helps with breakdown and elimination of the inflammatory cellular debris that can accumulate within joints.
Lipase. This particularly enzyme helps break down and utilize the specific fats in the eggshell membrane for improved tissue absorption.
This is a unique, and more comprehensive once-daily joint formula designed to supply the key components and nourishment to the key cellular structures within and around joints.
If your foundational nutritional is on target, this supplement would be a reasonable addition to boost the health of joint cartilage and supportive connective tissue.
Initial feedback from my patients has been excellent.
Always looking out for you and leading-edge new joint supplements.
- Sawitzke AD, Shi H, Finco MF, et al. The Effect of Glucosamine and/or Chondroitin Sulfate on the Progression of Knee Osteoarthritis: A Report from the Glucosamine/Chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial. Arthritis & Rheumatism, 2008; 58(10):3183–3191.
- Clegg D, Reda DJ, Harris CL, et al. Glucosamine, Chondroitin Sulfate, and the Two in Combination for Painful Knee Osteoarthritis. New England Journal of Medicine, 2006;354:795–808.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This information or product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. You should always consult with your health care provider before taking any new supplement.