JAMA Report on Glucosamine and Chondroitin
This information is based on 15 studies summarized in a highly regarded medical publication - the Journal of the American Medical Association, by allaboutarthritis.com:
Some of the best, objective data available to date on glucosamine and chondroitin comes from an analysis published in the March 15, 2000 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) - a journal that many physicians use to keep abreast of new developments.
The JAMA report found a moderate effect on pain relief and improved mobility with glucosamine, and a significant positive effect for chondroitin. These natural body substances are usually taken together. The researchers caution that some of the studies analyzed may be biased or flawed and expect actual effectiveness to be more modest than the studies imply.
According to the report, comparison studies show the supplements to be at least as effective as ibuprofen (e.g. Advil“, Motrin IB“). There's some evidence that the supplements may actually slow the progression of cartilage loss in affected joints. Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements may need to be taken for more than a month for full therapeutic effect.
The JAMA report indicates that the short-term safety profile appears good; analysis of possible long-term adverse effects is under way. But there are concerns about drug interactions for people on blood-thinning medications and about harmful effects on insulin resistance, a major cause of type 2 diabetes.
So while more studies on long-term effects need to be done, the JAMA report does indicate some potential benefit in clinical trials, along with the caveats described above. Be aware, though, that there may be wide variation in quality in the glucosamine and chondroitin available on store shelves.
Dietary supplements are unregulated by the FDA Glucosamine and chondroitin are considered "nutritional supplements" in the United States and not drugs. As with other dietary supplements, the purity of the glucosamine and chondroitin products sold in pharmacies, health food stores, and supermarkets is unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration. That's because of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act passed by Congress in 1994. This law permits the marketing of a product claimed to affect the structure or function of the body as a "dietary supplement" without the approval of any government agency, as long as the labeling includes a disclaimer saying that it has not been evaluated by the FDA and the product is not intended to diagnose, treat or prevent any disease.
Typical dosages are 1500 mg daily of glucosamine and 1200 mg daily of chondroitin. Studies have shown that preparations claiming to contain certain doses of glucosamine or chondroitin do not in fact contain the amounts described.
So if you and your physician decide to add these supplements to your arthritis- control plan, seek out a manufacturer that can attest to the quality of its product and accuracy of its dosages.
Recent research suggest, liquid glucosamine has much more efficacy than the powdered form found in pills. The reason? Better absorption leads to quicker and longer lasting relief. Also, filler often takes up a high percentage of pills. A leading glucosamne treatment is Syn-Flex.
Glucosamine provided in liquid form is absorbed more quickly, much more fully, and provides greater and longer lasting relief. You see if you are taking 1500 mg of glucosamine in capsule form, and you absorb 20% of this, you are really only getting 300mg of this actually absorbed into your bloodstream. However, if you take 1250mg of glucosamine in liquid form, 98% of which is absorbed, you are getting a full 1225 mg of glucosamine actually absorbed into your system per day, which will provide much fuller relief, much more quickly.
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