Over the last 19 years of practicing chiropractic, there has been no other supplement that has been so questioned by my patients. “Should I take glucosamine Dr. Dubrul?” My doctor says I need to be on glucosamine or my arthritis will just get worse. Is that true?”
Well, the quick answer is NO. Because almost everything we read about glucosamine is, in fact, marketing material with a whole lot of spin added and very little actual science.
In looking at the science, The Cochrane Collaboration (www.cochrane.org) is an international, not-for-profit, independent organization that produces and disseminates systematic reviews of health care interventions. Cochrane is one of the most, if not the most, respected organization of its type in the world. According to its 2009 review of glucosamine, which included 25 studies with 4,963 patients, only one brand of glucosamine was found more effective than placebo. This was the Dona brand from Rottapharm.
The largest and most rigorous investigation of glucosamine ever done is known as GAIT (Glucosamine Arthritis Intervention Trial). The trial took place at 16 universities across America, was conducted by the National Institute for Health (NIH) and included 1,583 patients. The results:
• Five of the six glucosamine and/or chondroitin groups failed to show benefit over the placebo group for pain relief after six months.
• Only one of the six groups, which was one of the two groups receiving both glucosamine and chondroitin, appeared to benefit. However, this group was small, with only 72 participants. The GAIT researchers cautioned not to draw any conclusions from this sixth group because of its small size and also, most importantly, because the results were inconsistent with the results form the other five groups.
• GAIT participants were given the opportunity to continue for another 18 months in order to see if there were any benefits to the cartilage after two years.
• The participants receiving both glucosamine and chondroitin had slightly more joint-space loss than placebo. It was minor difference and not statistically significant, but certainly not a benefit!
So, you can see that the evidence for glucosamine and chondroitin argues that it is not of much benefit. Even so, many manufacturers offer the GAIT results as proof that glucosamine works; bizarre, but true. It makes one wonder, at what point does advertising research results as positive when the authors report them as negative become an abuse of free speech?
Many glucosamine-containing products claim they are the best, despite little or no research whatsoever. These brands often add chondroitin, MSM, green lipped muscle, milk protein, eggshell membrane, HA, enzymes, hot herbs, fish oil etc., to create the “ultimate” joint product. It may all sound good, but there is no proof.
A better way
With this in mind, I wanted to bring to light a specific product that is now available to help you with the stiffness and pain of arthritis. It is called Esterified fatty acid complex, also known as EFAC . This product received a U.S. patent in late 2009.
These new “super oils” have outstanding peer-reviewed research supporting their use for joint health, specifically for arthritis in the knee
These oils are very unique in that they can be taken in pill form and are also well-absorbed through the skin in the form of a cream analogous to the old Ben Gay!
In addition to the EFAC, it is vital to be supplementing with Omega 3 fatty acids, most commonly found in Fish Oils. These fats need to be taken in our diet, as your body cannot make them on your own. Amongst a host of positive life expressing qualities, these fish oils have an anti-inflammatory effect. When they are added to a healthy diet filled with fruits, vegetables, water and free range chicken, turkey and wild fish, the inflammation of arthritis is taken down, resulting in less pain and stiffness.
In closing, I recommend the combination of EFAC and Omega 3 fatty acid supplementation if you are suffering from arthritis symptoms. Try a free sample of both of these great joint products or schedule a complimentary consultation to see if Dr. Dubrul can help you.