Los Angeles, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/17/2013 -- An estimated 27 million Americans suffer from osteoarthritis pain in the knee or hip, and many treat this pain with glucosamine and chondroitin supplements. These nutritional additions have been marketed as beneficial for joint health for over 20 years, but some research suggests that exercise and losing weight could provide more pain relief and better health benefits than taking the additional supplement.
Glucosamine and chondroitin are amino sugars found naturally in cartilage and connective tissue pads of joints. The idea behind taking the supplements is that they may help repair damage to cartilage overtime. However, during a randomized study doubt was cast on the supplements effectiveness when compared to patients who took a placebo and experienced similar effects. Both participants on the supplement and the placebo began to exercise more, and this movement caused a decrease in pain in both parties. But, those taking the supplement showed no physical change in the condition of their cartilage, or a delay in deterioration, when compared to participants on the placebo.
People in pain are less likely to try and become more active, but if taking a supplement or a placebo reduces this pain and encourages activity, many doctors feel this could be a good thing. “Far be it from me to take away either the placebo effect or an idiosyncratic reaction that might be of benefit,” says Dr. David Felson of Boston University. The goal of a physician is to decrease overall pain so a patient will engage in the kind of activity which will make a difference in the progression of osteoarthritis. Losing weight and physical activity provide numerous health benefits aside from a reduction in pain, and anything that encourages activity could benefit a persons’ health.
If suffering from knee, hip, or other joint pain, it could be beneficial to try a supplement and see if there is any change in pain level. The results may be surprising, and after a few weeks of activity the supplement could become unnecessary, but the health changes one has begun will last a lifetime.
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