My Recommendations for Glucosamine, Chondroitin, and SAMe for Osteoarthritis

Alternative Medicine
Several readers have requested that I post the advice that I both use in practice and teach other healthcare professionals when it comes to a topic on which I frequently teach, Natural Medications for Osteoarthritis: An evidence-based evaluation. This year I've given this talk in several hospitals and to state and national gatherings of physicians and PAs. Let's start with the take home recommendations: The Bottom Line Take Home Point #1 All patients with osteoarthritis should take part in an active exercise regimen and reduce weight (if overweight or obese). I also recommend they begin a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and low in unsaturated fats. Antioxidants in pill form probably won't help. Instead, I advise patients to boost consumption of vegetables and fruits that provide lots of vitamin C, vitamin E,…
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Glucosamine and chondroitin products still popular among arthritis sufferers

Alternative Medicine
The New York Times reports that although "tablets that combine glucosamine and chondroitin are popular for those seeking relief from arthritis. Elations offers the supplements in the form of a bottled eight-ounce juice drink or powder mix, and it turns out the beverage appeals to consumers who have trouble swallowing not just pills – but also the fact of aging." The Times points out that "Glucosamine and chondroitin have their doubters among doctors, with several studies, including one published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 2006, indicating that for many people, they do not relieve pain much better than placebos." However, "such products remain popular with 25 percent of arthritis sufferers seeking relief with glucosamine, chondroitin, or other supplements, according to a 2009 report by Mintel, a market…
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Glucosamine sulfate appears to have no effect on chronic low back pain from degenerative lumbar osteoarthritis

Alternative Medicine
I've posting a blog on the effectiveness of glucosamine sulfate for osteoarthritis of the knee. In my practice, it's never seemed to work well for arthritis or degenerative disc disease of the lower back. Now, there's new data supporting my observation. On its website, ABC News reported, "Glucosamine has looked like salvation to many people with joint pain," and "statistics attest to the supplement's widespread appeal." For example, a "2007 federal survey of Americans' use of complementary and alternative medicine found that more than 6 million adults in the United States had taken glucosamine in the previous month." Meanwhile, a "study from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, published in 2004, found that among women treated at New Mexico hospitals for joint and muscle pain, 25 percent of…
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Walking Plus Glucosamine Sulfate May Improve Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

Alternative Medicine, Men's Health, Woman's Health
A 30-minute walk taken at least 3 days a week combined with glucosamine sulfate supplements may reduce symptoms of mild to moderate hip or knee osteoarthritis (OA), researchers report in a new study published online in the journal Arthritis Research & Therapy. Here's are some of the details based upon a MedScape report: "Management of [OA] includes the use of non-pharmacologic and pharmacologic therapies," wrote Norman T. M. Ng, MD, from the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, and colleagues. "Although walking is commonly recommended for reducing pain and increasing physical function in people with OA, glucosamine sulphate has also been used to alleviate pain and slow the progression of OA." The main goal of this feasibility study was to evaluate the combined effects of a progressive walking program and glucosamine…
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Knee Arthritis Supplements (Glucosamine & Chondroitin) May Not Help – Why you should NOT believe this headline.

Alternative Medicine, Health Headlines, Men's Health, Woman's Health
WebMD Health News, along with many other news outlets, are reporting that the results from a national study which examined whether two popular supplements (glucosamine and chondroitin) slow the progression of knee arthritis. The news stories tell you the study shows that the supplements are NOT effective. But, is that true? My Take: (more…)
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