Glucosamine and chondroitin, used separately or together, are among the more popular diet supplements. They are used widely for osteoarthritis, especially of the knee, and have been better studied than most other diet supplements. But do they really work?
The journal of my medical specialty, American Family Physician, recently published an article about the use of dietary supplements in osteoarthritis. They gave a “B” evidence rating to both glucosamine and chondroitin. This means there is inconsistent or limited-quality patient-oriented evidence. They recommended the use of glucosamine sulfate, saying, “Overall, the evidence supports the use of glucosamine sulfate for modestly reducing osteoarthritis symptoms and possibly slowing disease progression.” They did not exactly recommend chondroitin, although they said it “may provide modest benefit for some patients.”
I remain skeptical. And so does R. Barker Bausell, who devoted several pages of his book Snake Oil Science to an analysis of the research on glucosamine and chondroitin.
The American Family Physician recommendations were based largely on the results of meta-analyses. Meta-analyses are only as good as the studies they evaluate. Ioannidis has shown that published research findings are more likely to be false than true. It has been suggested that the Dona brand of glucosamine sulfate produced by the Rotta company showed positive results and that negative studies were done on other brands. But Bausell points out that trials involving the Dona brand were primarily older trials in non-English speaking countries where the percentage of positive studies tends to be higher. Those trials were superseded by better quality trials in the US, Canada, and the UK that were all negative.
An intriguing 2005 study looked at patients who were already taking glucosamine for knee osteoarthritis and who had experienced at least moderate relief of pain. They left half of the patients on the glucosamine and switched half to placebo. There was no difference in outcome.
The NEJM study in 2006 was the best-designed study yet. It deserves particular attention because it was reported in the press as both positive and negative! They originally hoped to look for an objective endpoint, joint-space narrowing, but they ended up measuring subjective pain relief instead. They tested 5 groups of patients on glucosamine, chondroitin, glucosamine and chondroitin together, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) or a placebo. The NSAID worked fastest and best, but not significantly so. None of the drugs worked significantly better than placebo. The placebo response rate was very high, which has been used to question the results, but which might also mean that there is a naturally high placebo response rate for this condition, which is known to involve fluctuations in severity over time.
The study was clearly negative, but when they broke the data from each of the 5 groups into 2 subgroups of patients with mild-to-moderate vs moderate-to-severe pain, they found one subgroup that showed significance: the group with moderate-to-severe pain that took both glucosamine and chondroitin. You might expect one out of ten subgroups to be falsely positive just by chance. Besides that, the results don’t make sense. I don’t know of any other treatment that is effective for more severe pain but not for lesser pain. And in previous studies, the combination of glucosamine and chondroitin had been no more effective than either supplement by itself. The authors themselves pointed out that their study was not designed to differentiate between those subgroups. so no clinical recommendations could be made on the basis of this finding.
Wallace Sampson, one of the other authors of this blog, has pointed out that the amount of glucosamine in the typical supplement dose is on the order of 1/1000th or 1/10,000th of the available glucosamine in the body, most of which is produced by the body itself. He says, “Glucosamine is not an essential nutrient like a vitamin or an essential amino acid, for which small amounts make a large difference. How much difference could that small additional amount make? If glucosamine or chondroitin worked, this would be a medical first and worthy of a Nobel. It probably cannot work.”
The existing evidence is compatible with the hypothesis that glucosamine and chondroitin work no better than placebo, and that the trials that seem to show otherwise are flawed for various reasons.
Critics will say that the evidence for glucosamine and chondroitin is as good as the evidence for many pharmaceuticals. That may be. Some pharmaceuticals may actually be no better than placebo. Rather than an argument for using glucosamine and chondroitin, this is an indication that we need to look as carefully at the evidence for pharmaceuticals as Bausell has looked at the evidence for glucosamine and chondroitin. When we look at any research, we should remember all the possible sources of bias in published results, and we should remember that meta-analyses are only as good as the studies they are analyzing.
50% of Americans suffer some form of hemorrhoid disease by age 50. That’s approximately 10.4 million people. And if half the population in the country suffers from this disease, that would mean you are probably here because you suffer from it and are looking for ways to remedy the problem that you have been ignoring for years.
There are several reasons to why people get hemorrhoids. It could be caused by race, poor eating habits, genetics, gender, or age. Most women suffer from hemorrhoids during pregnancy. Even though almost 25% of the affected are women, they are still less likely to seek treatment than men. If you can believe it, weightlifters are more prone to suffering from hemorrhoids simply because lifting weights causes strain in the veins in your rectum.
I have a friend who suffers from rosacea. It’s an irritation in the skin which results in red blots in the skin or irritation. He has it on his face and when it flares up, you can see red marks on his cheeks. One thing that can help alleviate the irritation (at least for him) is by getting regular facials as his treatment. Somehow, the facials help alleviate the redness in his face.
There are also signs that regular facials help slow the signs of aging. There are many types of facials that you can get. I accompany my friend each time he goes and I get a treatment myself. My situation is a little different from him. I have dark circles under my eyes due to lack of iron. I take iron pills but it doesn’t help much. The salon that we go to offers a process where they take a pencil-shaped steel rod that they place around my eyes in a circular motion. They do this for a few minutes and somehow, it lightens the dark circles under my eyes. I had it done twice and the circles around my eyes are almost gone.
Facial treatments are an essential part of grooming as well. There are rejuvenating facials, de-tox facials, collagen facials and many others that you can avail of. Some facials don’t cost that much and you can probably get a facial for less than a hundred bucks. It really all depends on what services you want to avail of. Don’t worry if you have sensitive skin because they have a facial designed for people with sensitive skin as well.
If you’re serious about getting back your facial glow, try getting a facial. Not only that it is a relaxing process and a stress-reliever, it will help reduce wrinkles and all the bad elements that damage your skin. Give it a try.
Posted by antiaging as Anti-Aging Secrets
I was talking to a friend of mine over the weekend. He’s been trying to convince me to quit smoking. Believe me, I want to quit smoking but I guess not bad enough yet to actually do it.
I have been smoking for more than 20 years and it’s a habit that is very hard for me to break. I got started during military training in high school. It was a way to look cool and look awesome. A lot of good that did me!
Now, I really want to quit smoking but I don’t want to take any pills because I’ve heard so many horror stories about it. I want to try the patch but I still have reservations about it. I’ve heard people who suffered a heart attack while on the patch. I’m not saying or confirming that it had something to do with it but you know how it goes?
There may be hope for me though. Have you heard of hypnosis? A friend of mine wants to do it to help him with his anxiety attacks. I have (or at least not aware if I have) not experienced an anxiety attack but if the treatment works for him, it may work for me as well. He lives in Chicago and it’s easy to find a place for treatment if you have internet access. All you have to do is Google “hypnosis for anxiety chicago“ and you can find clinics who offer hypnosis treatments.
In the meantime, I may check out the free service that my state offers to help me quit smoking. If this doesn’t work, I may have to try hypnosis.
Posted by antiaging as Anti-Aging Secrets
Medicine’s focus has long been on treating specific diseases. We have radiation treatments to combat cancer tumors, cholesterol-lowering drugs to stave off heart attacks, and insulin to control diabetes.
But imagine if there were a drug that would slow down the aging process itself, a drug that didn’t just treat a single disease but instead targeted multiple diseases of old age at once? It may sound far-fetched, but that’s precisely what longevity scientists are working hard to produce.
“It’s not just that we’re trying to make people live longer; we’re trying to make people live healthier. This is an exciting time for research,” says Felipe Sierra, director of the Division of Aging Biology at the National Institute on Aging.
Posted by antiaging as Anti-Aging Products
Pomegranates play a role in health for their anti aging properties in many cultures around the world. You can find pomegranate juice and other products touting the health benefits of pomegranates in almost any grocery in the United States. Are pomegranates worth the extra price?
Pomegranates come from small fruit tress that originally came from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. These trees have been cultivated all around the world for thousands of years. You can even find pomegranate trees in California.
Health Claims of Pomegranates
The pomegranate fruit contains high levels of antioxidants, vitamin C, as well as other vitamins and minerals. All these nutritional components lead to claims of boosting the immune system, helping the heart and even fighting cancer.
Are the Health Claims About Pomegranates True?
Posted by antiaging as Health Networking Sites
Q: I’m worried I may have been exposed to HIV. Are there any tests that can tell me immediately if I’ve been infected? How accurate are they? What’s the most accurate test currently available?
A: Yes, it is possible to get a rapid test for HIV—with a result in as little as 20 minutes. Rapid HIV testing can be done with a blood test or using saliva collected by swabbing the inside of the mouth. The blood test is slightly more accurate.
Posted by antiaging as Anti-Aging Breakthroughs
Have we finally found the fountain of youth? A Harvard study finds that an enzyme, when administered to mice – reversed the aging process and found that the enlarged brain had shrunk, organs had atrophied and the sense of smell had vibrantly returned.
The initial experiment was to find if the process of aging can be stopped or slowed down in order to allow people live healthier and more productive lives. What they found was shocking.
“We were expecting to slow or perhaps stabilize the aging process. Instead, we saw a dramatic reversal in the symptoms of aging.”
, according to Dr. Ronald DePinho, director of the Belfer Institute at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute who authored the paper in the Journal of Nature.
These food and drink options will help your body fight off the damage caused by aging (see exotic anti-aging foods for some odder longevity foods). Just work them into your daily and weekly meal plans and you’ll be getting extra vitamins, antioxidants and other substances that will help your body fight age-related illnesses and be anti aging resources for you. Start today!
Avocados lead my list of anti-aging foods because that are just so delicious. Of course, avocados are loaded with healthy fats to help improve your cholesterol, but the main reason to eat avocados is because they taste so good.
I know I need to eat more omega-3s and that fish are a great source, but I have to admit that possible mercury contamination of fish has got me a bit scared off. That’s where walnuts come in. Turns out that walnuts are a great (and mercury-free) source of omega-3 essential fatty acids. Eat a handful or two a day for all your omega-3 needs.
Posted by antiaging as Anti-Aging Secrets
What is the leading killer in America? Heart disease; it’s the number one cause of death in the United States. The sad part is that you can prevent heart disease simply by watching your diet. With hectic work schedules and the popularity of fast food restaurants, it’s no surprise that the average American is overweight. So it’s time to say NO to those greasy fries and walk the path towards better health.
One can always lower their chance of getting heart disease by choosing their foods more wisely. For a healthier heart one should eat:
Less Sodium: Although we need some sodium in our diets, most of us consume too much of it. Eating less salt helps lower blood pressure, which helps reduce the risk of heart disease. So, avoid adding unnecessary salt to foods and steel clear of prepackaged salty snacks.