Arthritis sufferers are bombarded by offers of supplements that are claimed to relieve the symptoms and reverse the effects of their arthritis. In fact, the supplement industry has introduced more than 800 claimed remedies for arthritis. So how are you to know which ones may really work, and which only separate you from your money?
The medical journal, American Family Physician, recently published an article in which they review the relevant research to identify which supplements may actually provide improvements in arthritis.
The reviewer’s to pick is glucosamine sulfate. There have been numerous studies on glucosamine. The authors, researchers at Creighton University in Omaha, state that more that 20 randomized studies involving more than 2,500 patients have been conducted.
As I have written in other postings, the efficacy of glucosamine can still be a controversial subject. This report indicates that the results may appear to be contradictory as a result of the variety of glucosamine formulations and the study methods. They state that studies that utilize glucosamine sulfate specifically provided consistent benefits for arthritis patients.
Another popular supplement is chondroitin. Prior studies for this supplement also show inconsistent results. Chondroitin is commonly sold in combination with glucosamine. The reviewers at American Family Physician found little evidence that chondroitin in combination with glucosamine is more effective than glucosamine sulfate alone.
The reviewers also identify a promising supplement called SAM-e, which stands for S-adenosylmethionine. A recent study compared SAM-e with the anti-inflammatory drug Celebrex. According to the study, Celebrex users experienced more relief after 1 month of treatment, but after 2 months there was no difference.
SAM-e also appears to have fewer gastrointestinal effects than most anti-inflammatory drugs. But it does have potential side effects, such as headache and insomnia. It also has the potential to interact with antidepressants and other drugs.
The report also covers the research on MSM, devil’s claw, turmeric and ginger, but concludes there isn’t enough evidence to support their use.