Do Joint Supplements Work?
The debate about the treatment of joint pain and its associated conditions has spanned almost three decades now, and most of its focus is centered on joint supplements. Osteoarthritis is the term for what is essentially the wearing out of normally smooth cartilage surfaces of joints.
This wear and tear of osteoarthritis can cause joint pain, swelling, and even deformity. Osteoarthritis is also the most common type of arthritis, as opposed to rheumatoid arthritis which just involves the swelling of cartilage rather than the breaking down of those essential tissues.
Because osteoarthritis is only worsened as the cartilage continues to break down, it is essential to repair the joints so that there is not any bone damage, such as bone spurs, as the bones rub together unprotected. But this is where modern medicine runs into an obstacle—how do we repair this condition?
When osteoarthritis has become so intense that not only are the bones being damaged at the point of contact, but the damage has begun to stress the integrity of the rest of the bone shaft, a sufferer of osteoarthritis often has to resort to joint replacement.
Because modern medicine does not yet have a way to successfully manufacture cartilage that will be accepted by the body, doctors must saw out the bones around the joint and then screw in a synthetically produced joint that will not have any nerve tissue and thus will not hurt or break down with natural friction. This measure is often a last resort as the surgery is a major one and can cause a lot of trauma to the body.
Since surgery is so obtrusive, dangerous, and expensive, there has been a clamor for alternative osteoarthritis treatments. It is for this reason that there has been so much research done in the field of joint supplements. Supplements that treat the conditions surrounding joint pain and health have mainly been derived from ingredients like glucosamine and chondroitin.
Glucosamine was first used on thoroughbred dogs and cats that had been bred too narrowly and suffered joint problems as a result of the lack of genetic variety, but it has been used on humans since the 1960’s. Although it was mainly used by physicians and was really only available with a prescription, glucosamine became readily available and popular in the United States in the mid 1990’s.
Chondroitin is a part of the glycosaminoglycan molecule and is the most abundant molecule found in cartilage. Found naturally in the joints, chondroitin is mainly responsible for the resiliency of cartilage, and when taken orally it has shown to be able to increase the rate at which new cartilage forms by providing more of the necessary building blocks for the body.
Numerous clinical studies have been done on glucosamine and chondroitin alone, as well as their ability to work together, and an overwhelming majority of them have proven these molecules to reduce significant pain and facilitate motion, as opposed to the patients taking the placebo who saw neither of these results.
In fact the natural supplements were as successful as expensive nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory injections (NSAIDs) which had been the first step before a joint replacement. Also these supplements provided the benefits of the NSAIDs without the side effects of gastrointestinal complaints and bleeding. Joint supplements are also more favorable than NSAIDs because they actually work to repair the damage of osteoarthritis, rather than just dull the pain.
If you’re looking for more than just a quick fix from joint pain, we believe that you should look to the repairing nature of supplements, rather than just the quick fix of pain numbing that so many other drugs offer.