Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Supplements for Osteoarthitis - Conflicting Results Again

I've seen this a number of times with various over the counter supplements. Some studies paint a good picture, others show equivocal results, and other studies claim the supplement is a dud. There is far too much hype concerning the purported value of all those supplements out there but the research is indicating that some supplements can be of great value not only in addressing specific pathologies but also general health. For example, Juvenon (see picture on the right) is a supplement compound backed up by credible research. While I haven't tried juvenon itself I have tried to the two components of it. It took a while for the effects to kick in but it definitely worked.

Osteoarthritis is a very common condition and many alternative therapists advocate the use of the supplements glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. Studies have been mixed but mostly negative. This latest study suggests a mild favourable effect for glucosamine.

How does the consumer know what to do in these circumstances? Here are some guidelines:

  1. Look for reliable well conducted clinical trials on the supplement. If these don't exist then be very careful. Typically I will never advocate the use of a compound that has not been subject to clinical trials.
  2. NEVER trust the sellers of a product to provide reliable information. NEVER NEVER NEVER.
  3. Ask others who have used the supplement for their impression of it. This may help but remember individual responses to various drugs and supplements vary so widely that there is no guarantee what works for one person will work for you. This, incidentally, is also true of clinical trials. That something has worked in a clinical trial is no guarantee it will work for you. Remember, clinical trials are statistically based and hence the results apply to the treatment group, the results may not even be applicable to individuals within the treatment group.
  4. As long as you are convinced the supplement is safe and even in the absence of clinical trials there is no harm in giving it a go. It may just work for you even work clinical trials make low claims to efficacy or even state no efficacy. I appreciate this sounds contradictory but we are individuals and sometimes, even if by placebo effect, people do find benefits in supplements that have no scientific support for their use.

1 comment:

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