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Glucosamine and Chondroitin aren't all amazing....

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Glucosamine and Chondroitin aren't all amazing....


Glucosamine and Chondroitin have been long touted as healing supplements for arthritis and other joint pains.  I never really researched it, but when I noticed that my older dog has been a little bit slower during runs and slower to get up,  despite being only 5 years old ,  I decided to up his omega-3,6 supplementation (my dogs are on a raw food diet- they only eat raw meats, bones, and veggies as they would in nature) and I wanted to start him on natural supplementation for glucosamine and chondroitin- I don’t want everything else he eats to be totally healthy then pump him with chemicals  to stop his joint pain!

What I found is that the natural supplementation of glucosamine and chondroitin is green-lipped muscles, so I ordered him some from the source- New Zealand!!  Also Shark cartilage is the best source of chondroitin, so I got him some of those supplements as well- I want him footloose and fancy free like a puppy again!  I started the supplements over a week ago, and I thought that I noticed a difference but then realized that due to a little medical setback, I haven’t been running in the past week, so his extra energy at home is most likely due to a decrease in running outside.  But I decided to look up the research nonetheless, seeing as people who take these supplements are all about them and how great they are. 

Unfortunately, there have been numerous tests done, and NONE of them support chondroitin to decrease arthritis and joint pain, and only one small study supports the use of glucosamine to prevent the structural damage of arthritis, thus decreasing the pain associated with the disease.  Two of the largest studies were performed by GAIT (Glucosamine/chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial, which was all funded by the NIH (National Institute of Health) and both studies involved over 1500 people, the first one lasted about 3 months and their findings showed that a 17% of their patients taking the supplements had decrease pain but if the pain does not subside in 3 months after starting the supplementation, then it won’t help at all.  Also, they found that glucosamine sulfate is better than glucosamine hydrochloride and added with chondroitin sulfate can have improved effects for pain.

What I found concerning are the side effects of both supplements were listed, and seeing as these are taken as OTC (over the counter) drugs and people usually don’t ask their HCP’s about interactions or if it is a drug they should be taking!   Here are some of the bad things that can occur from these supplements that were found either in human or animal studies:
Glucosamine has been linked to insulin resistance, which can be a cause of diabetes, so diabetics should closely watch their insulin levels closely.  Also, it is made from shellfish, so people with an allergy should not take these supplements.
Chondroitin can cause bleeding, so people with bleeding disorders or taking other medications that can cause bleeding (even ibuprofen) should be careful when taking this supplement.   As well, because they are OTC they are not monitored by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), and many of them were found to not have the appropriate amount of supplementation as noted on the labels. 

In lieu of all of this, I think that I am going to be really sad about all od the money I just spent on Che’s supplements from new Zealand and stop them .  Also, I am going to make sure that people know the side effects in relation to the lack of evidence supporting its use.  I know that the placebo effect can go far, but I am not willing to put my pets, family, or loved ones at risk!  So take the supplements at your own risk, and if you take them and feel that they aren’t working, then stop them!!

Yours in Good Health
B

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