Is Glucosamine Really The Arthritis Cure?
New research shows how glucosamine can be made ten times as effective
If you are among the millions who suffer from osteoarthritis I do not have to tell you about pain. Nagging, persistent and at times unbearable, pain is a way of life for you. For most of you, the search for relief from this grinding pain is a chore in and of itself.
My name is J.R. Rogers and this is the story of how I beat one of the most dramatic pain problems imaginable. You see, in 1993 I sustained a very serious traumatic injury to my spine. So bad in fact, my upper spine was crushing the cord and I could not even walk in a straight line. The spinal fluid was not getting though the cord and my vertebrae were deteriorating rapidly. Now, using what I have learned I have been able to help thousands of people fully end or significantly reduce their pain problems.
While exact numbers differ widely, according to Newsweek, there are 22 million with Osteoarthritis in the US. Whether your pain is in your knees, neck, hands, shoulders or any other joint, there have been some important advances made in treating these conditions. I'm going to discuss these advances with you and explain in detail how this information can help you take control of your osteoarthritis.
Complete Guide to Living With Arthritis
the medical community has to say
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis and its typical targets are your hands, hips, knees, feet and spine. Sometimes, it will attack your knuckles, wrists, elbows and shoulders. I should mention that these are not the only areas of your body subject to attack however. There are 143 joints in the human body and any of them may be subject to osteoarthritis. When OA attacks it causes a degeneration of the cartilage and fluids that protect against inflammation.
For those of you who live with this debilitating disease, you are all too familiar with what the doctors have to say. Some will tell you to take one of those "over-the-counter" remedies. You know products like Aspirin, Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen. (Called NSAIDS) In fact, some $8 Billion dollars a year is spent on these kinds of products in this country every year. Unfortunately, when it comes to using them to fight the pain of osteoarthritis, they can do you more harm than good.
Although you will obtain some temporary pain relief using them, there is also evidence that indicates that they will also cause a progression of osteoarthritis. Not only do they not stop joint degeneration, they are also associated with stomach ulcers and liver damage.
In the more serious cases of OA, doctors will take more extreme steps by ordering dangerous steroid injections or prescribing COX-2 inhibitors. While you might get some temporary pain relief, you are clearly more prone to dangerous side effects and they will do nothing to help you with the core of the problem. After all, what you are really seeking is two-fold. First and foremost, you want your pain to end. Secondly, you want to address the medical problem itself and end (or reverse) the progression of your OA.
big announcement that set America on its ear
There is a compound that has no side effects that has been known by many for years to effectively reduce pain and slow the progression of osteoarthritis. Only recently, however, has this information been scientifically verified. You may have already heard of this compound. It is called glucosamine.
On January 21, 2001 MSNBC reported on the findings published in The Lancet medical journal regarding the use of glucosamine in treating osteoarthritis. Countless television commentaries and newspaper stories were soon to follow with the expected result. Everyone began searching for the "perfect" glucosamine product and there was no shortage of choices. (Just because I was aware of the European research certainly didn't mean the rest of the country was.)
Glucosamine is an over-the-counter dietary supplement that has gained a lot of attention from this recent coverage. It is completely safe, as it is a natural, non-toxic compound, and mounting evidence suggests it may improve symptoms for those who suffer from osteoarthritis.
Suddenly, every company in America 'hit the market' with a glucosamine product that (they) claimed was the solution you had been looking for. After all, it's the American Way. If a product is in demand, everyone wants to get on the bandwagon. Unfortunately, most of you were quick to learn that there was no "magic bullet." For most, you experienced exactly what I had already been through. These glucosamine products didn't fully diminish your pain or in some cases did not work at all. (Does this sound at all familiar?)
Unfortunately, with store shelves and mail-order catalogs crammed with choices the task of finding a product that works has only become more difficult. Television commercials flood your living room every day with glucosamine ads. Direct mail pieces arrive in your mailbox bearing some celebrity's face and they are insisting the product they are endorsing is the one you are looking for.
That article in The Lancet medical journal came about as a result of studies conducted in Lourdes, Belgium. At last, the American public as well as the medical community was aware of objective evidence that glucosamine indeed worked as a treatment for osteoarthritis. Incredible news for the medical community since after all, glucosamine is a nutritional supplement. But that's not all. This study had even more to say:
studies had indicated that glucosamine could dull the pain of
Arthritis, but experts say the latest study shows for the first time that
it could improve the structure of the joints."
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS-London
"Improve the structure of the joints." Now that is very important language. This study not only concluded that pain could be managed, but as well the damage from osteoarthritis could be reversed. Incredible claims. But are they real?
go back to my story
In 1996, the doctors finally got around to operating on my spine. What they had to do is remove leg bone to rebuild my upper spine. (Think about a stiff rod or piece of wood inside your back.) I was left with constant pain; had limited mobility in my neck; and was left to rely on narcotic painkillers just to get by. If you are suffering from osteoarthritis pain, I can empathize as I have walked in your shoes.
Fortunately, I'm not a "quitter." I was determined to learn everything I could about osteoarthritis, joint pain and any possible means to restore my body to its formerly healthy state. (Of course, I did not have a clue how I was going to do this.) One thing I did know. The doctors had made it clear to me that my condition would only get worse, even though they had operated in time to keep me out of a wheelchair. I knew then that if I were going to have any chance at all, it would be up to me to find the way.
doctor with vision
Fortunately, the pain management specialist who was treating me was from Europe and unlike most doctors, was willing to listen. When I approached him with what I was learning about glucosamine, (it was now 1997) he didn't "shrug it off." Instead, he was impressed with the information I was finding and encouraged me to "give it a try."
exactly does the compound do
(This may be a little technical so just do your best to try to gain a little understanding here.)
Glucosamine is a "chondroprotective agent", which relieves the symptoms of OA without any side effects while at the same time slowing the progression of the disease. And what is a "chondroprotective agent?"
Glucosamine (and chondroitin) is produced naturally within your body. However, it is not produced in sufficient quantities once you have developed osteoarthritis. That is the reason that we must rely on "synthetic" products to replenish our systems.
What has happened to your body when you have osteoarthritis is that the cartilage (that acts as a "cushion" between bones) has deteriorated. Healthy (articular) cartilage is what we need to make movement and motion of our joints pain free. In other words, it allows bones to move across one another providing an ultra-smooth, slippery surface to do so.
Most of the products I was able to buy back then were in either pill or capsule form. Believe me, I was trying just about every one I could afford. Unfortunately, I didn't seem to be making any real progress. My pain hadn't changed and of course, I had no way of knowing what changes if any were going on inside of my body.
If the research was correct, glucosamine should have been taking care of my pain and reversing my osteoarthritis damage. You could not have proved it by using me as an example. It was now late in 1998 and I didn't seem to be getting anywhere. I had to ask myself some tough questions.
Was all that research
a waste of time? Or, was my case just so bad that glucosamine was just
not going to help? Somehow, I convinced myself that I was on the right
track but there was something missing from the equation.
Your Previous Glucosamine Products May Not Have Been Fully Effective
(or work at all)
New outside research, confirmed by what I have witnessed myself, has shown that glucosamine in a different form can double the benefits received and dramatically reduce the time it takes for results to be noticed. This new form is a liquid glucosamine. Liquid glucosamine offers quite a few benefits over powdered pills. Here's a comparison:
Apply Topical Cream
Fastest Pain Relief
Lasting Pain Relief
Longest Lasting Pain Relief
Based on my personal
experience, I can verify that these differences are real. High impact,
fast-acting pain relief, and solid, long-lasting effect. If you are
currently taking glucosamine in any form other than liquid you are losing
out on half of its effect. Later on, I recommend a liquid glucosamine
product that gave me great results so keep reading!
How do you know what's best?
With all of the hype surrounding glucosamine, almost every major pharmaceutical company and vitamin manufacturer (among others) has come out with a product. This rush to market is not something that is in your best interests. There are far too many products out there that seem to have appeared only with profits in mind. In a perfect world, companies should be more interested in producing products that are formulates to help you end your suffering.
It is a fair bet to say that you have already been disappointed about glucosamine products you have tried. After all, if glucosamine is the answer then you were expecting your pain to end immediately.
I too had tried
the pills and capsules and was disappointed. Too much "filler"
and not enough real components to do any good. At one point, I also
got around to trying some of those products you apply externally where
you experience pain. Maybe a little pain relief but it was very short-lived.
Eventually, I even tried some of those products that you apply externally to your body. You know, those creams and 'roll-on' products. It was clear right away that they weren't the solution I was looking for either. And then I got lucky.
phone call that changed my life
In late 1999 a friend of mine called to tell me about a liquid glucosamine that he was using to treat his thoroughbred horses. In fact, he had several other friends who were also horse owners and they were using the product as well. But here's where the story got really interesting.
He said that the owners were giving two ounces of the product to their horses every day and then "taking a swig" themselves. That really got my attention since we were talking about a glucosamine product in liquid form. "Do you mean to tell me that the owners are treating their arthritis with this product?" He laughed and replied, "You bet they are and they all feel terrific. No joint pain at all." Of course, my heart skipped a beat. I asked him to send me a "jug" of the product.
To make a long story short, this stuff was incredible. Within ten days, I could move my neck just as if it had never been injured and equally important, I had no pain. I knew that I had found a glucosamine solution that belonged in the hands of everyone who suffered from osteoarthritis. All I had to do was consider some changes in the formula itself.
makeup of articular cartilage
Most of the cartilage we are discussing contains between 65% and 80% water. The remainder is comprised of collagen and proteoglycans. The collagen portion of cartilage is what gives it elastic-like properties and provides the "shock absorber" qualities that you need for pain-free movement. Of equal importance, the collagen is what holds proteoglycans in place. Now, let's try to make some sense out of this.
Proteoglycans are nothing more than molecules composed of sugar and proteins. What they do inside your cartilage matrix is "wrap" themselves in and around the collagen fibers. So what happens then? The proteoglycans add stretching capability and they act to capture water. Remember, we already said that 65% to 80% of your cartilage is made up of water. It is this squeezing "in and out" activity as your joints are in motion that is facilitated by these proteoglycans. And there is just one final ingredient we need to add to the mix.
The principal producer of both collagen and proteoglycans are chondrocytes. So long as everything is working correctly, you are going to have healthy and vibrant articular cartilage. There is however one down side here. Chondrocytes also produce enzymes that act to "destroy" the older, worn out collagen and proteoglycans. Unfortunately, one negative effect can be the overproduction of enzymes that are destroying collagen and proteoglycans. Another way of putting it is that your body is "working against itself."
things go wrong
Once this essential part of normal joint functioning goes bad, it's a straight downhill run. Of course, that's why you are reading this material right now. You're in pain and you are looking for answers. That pain that's driving you crazy is caused by cartilage that is developing ragged edges and bone that is overgrown. It is "pockmarked" and abrasive. As the problem increases, the lining of your joints is becoming inflamed. (The synovium)
The synovium is the area where nerves and nerve endings are bundled. The inescapable fact is that it's going to send out pain messages. As part of your body's defense mechanism, the synovium is fighting to produce more synovial fluid. It is this fluid that provides your cartilage with its "slippery" qualities. Unfortunately, your synovium goes into "overdrive" and the result is that too much fluid is produced. In turn, this builds up in the joint space and when this happens, things are getting out of control.
Did The Glucosamine Work For Me?
I began taking a daily regiment of glucosamine, hoping it would help my pain. Within about three weeks my pain had been reduced and limited mobility was restored to my neck. I was ecstatic and wanted to see if this could help others like it helped me.
I contacted a woman I had recently met who had been complaining about how badly osteoarthritis was interfering with her life. She was in pretty tough shape. I sent her a "sample" of this product to try. These are her words directly quoted:
three days after taking this product the severe pain in my
knees was gone. I'm now able to walk at the mall, go up and down
ladders and after playing with my grandchildren, I am able to get up
from the floor without any help. I no longer have to live in pain."
That's all I needed to hear. If she was getting relief this fast with her situation (which was bad) then this product was everything I believed it to be. All I needed to do was to experiment with a few more ingredients and have more people try it as I continued to make improvements. That's exactly what I did.
Magic of Adding Complementing Ingredients
My "education" in the use of glucosamine had never stopped. In fact, to this day I still spend whatever time I have exploring new avenues. All I knew at this point was that I had a fantastic product that was working quickly to end pain. The remaining question was what more I might be able to do to improve on that success.
I may not have mentioned this before so this is an appropriate time to do so. The original formula for this product used only pharmaceutical-grade glucosamine. Not just one type of glucosamine but two. Glucosamine Sulfate and Glucosamine Hydrochloride. It also contained Chondroitin Sulfate. (Found in the Shark Cartilage) That Shark Cartilage acts to "drive" the glucosamine as well.
In addition to those ingredients, the newly formulated product now had some other changes to give it even greater strength. Bromelaine was added because of its ability to clean away "debris" in the joints and because it aids in restoring proper fluid balance. It also helps to inhibit inflammatory compounds to reduce pain and swelling. Ascorbate (Manganese and ascorbic acid) was added to assist your body's ability to process the glucosamine. (A very important factor and one that is missing in nearly every glucosamine product on the market today.)
Yucca was added because of its long history in treating arthritis and rheumatism. (The root is rich in sponins that elevate your body's ability to produce cortisone naturally. The Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docasahexaenoic acid) are constituents of fish oils that act as anti-inflammatory agents. (Usually, these products are sold separately in health food stores as salmon oil or under other names.)
Each of the vitamins here also plays an important role in regaining healthy joints. Vitamin A (Beta carotene) is essential for growth and repair of body tissues and it aids in bone formation. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) produces a mobilization of your body's self-defense mechanisms, which assists your immune system to overcome pathological consequences. And finally, Vitamin E (Tocopheral) is an antioxidant, which acts to protect red blood cells and unsaturated fatty acids from oxidation damage. It also assists your body in maintaining healthy membrane tissue.
As I discovered benefits of each of these ingredients, I created for myself a daily regimen of taking each one. While it cost me over $65 a month to purchase these separate, it was worth it. Within a few weeks I full mobility had returned to my neck. Once again, I wanted to see if the same results we experienced by others.
You have a right to be skeptical because I certainly was for a very long time. But it was time to really put my new product to a broader test to see if everyone was getting the results that I had seen up to that point.
The second person I gave some to was my old friend Lou. After just a week he told me he was able to dance for the first time in years. In total, I had given samples to eight other people so I was anxious to hear what they had to say as well.
Lou, Howard, Joan, Ken, Tina, Julia, Joyce, Iris, and Kathy. Without exception they all told me that the product had either ended their pain completely or dramatically reduced it. They were astounded. You can imagine how great I felt.
What Have I Learned?
Through the course of my journey to rid my body of my arthritic pain I have learned much. I have tried everything and very little has worked. Glucosamine did work however. But only to an extent. It took a couple more years of testing to really find something that would fully end my pain and stop the progression of osteoarthritis. In order to achieve full results with glucosamine here's a review of what you need to know.
- Liquid glucosamine is more effective than powdered glucosamine
- Supplements which use high quality, pharmaceutical grade liquid glucosamine are the most effective.
- When glucosamine is combined with other beneficial ingredients these often work synergistically to provide fast-acting and complete pain relief and in many cases halt the progression of osteoarthritis
To date, I am aware of only one product that combines all the latest knowledge into one product. The name of it is Syn-Flex. The product is formulated using pharmaceutical grade liquid glucosamine sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride and all of the complimenting ingredients I have mentioned before. Chondroitin sulfate, shark cartilage, boswellin, bromelaine, omega 3 and 6, vitamins A, C, and E, and yucca powder are included.
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