“Joint Pain and Memory Supplements No Better than Placebo”

Dietary supplements do not undergo adequate safety testing or quality control but still sales have exploded into a $32 billion annual business. People are willing to try anything, even if there is no scientific support for many supplements available. About half of Americans use one or more of the 55,000 available dietary supplements. Supplements typically carry no information about side effects. The uninformed public buys them because they have been misled to believe that these products are “miracle cures” that orthodox medicine wants to hide from them. When it comes to joint pain, a new randomized controlled trial (RCT) has found that oral glucosamine has no more effect than placebo on joint pain. Even sub–groups, such as patients with obesity or high inflammation, found no benefit with the supplements. The Osteoarthritis Research Society International and the US National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recently issued guidance about the lack of evidence for glucosamine as a cure for joint pain. Overall, the effects of glucosamine and the placebo on pain and physical functioning didn’t differ, either in the short–term or at one or two years.

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