Many people I talk to have had varying success using vitamins and supplements to help joint conditions. Their experiences tend to vary from “wow” right through to the opposite extreme where it had no effect whatsoever. Their frustration is why some people get these great results, but not others?
OK, so how do you get the best from taking supplements?
There are a number of factors involved. Here are the ones that I have most commonly seen:
- Are you treating the right condition? You would be surprised how often a supplement has no effect because it is the wrong thing for a particular condition. The challenge with joint pain and arthritis is getting a correct diagnosis. Self diagnosis can be difficult, although not impossible. If you have a common condition then it may be fairly easy to work this out. However, there are a number of conditions that are much more complex and even Doctors misdiagnose. Conditions such as Sjogren’s and Fibromyalgia have multiple symptoms and are misleading. With a good diagnosis, treatment is actually straightforward. In fact our view is that the right supplement works better than any drug. The bottom line is your doctor or physician should be the first port of call to work out the nature of the problem.
- Quality of the supplement. Not all supplements are equal or even close. Even worse, the marketing behind many products is very slick and makes the product appear credible. My first warning is always to look at the price. If someone is selling a supplement and using wording something like “Get a whole year’s supply for a tenth of the price of anyone else”, I would run a mile. Some supplements can be treated like a commodity where you buy the cheapest, most however cannot. Quality ingredients cost and this has to be reflected in the pricing. However, it doesn’t follow that the most expensive are the best either. The team here only buys from a few suppliers who we know follow stringent quality guidelines and use decent ingredients. This almost always means no synthetic vitamins or dodgy fillers. One high street brand openly states that it adds talc and other fillers to their products! Would you swallow talcum powder!
- Strength. It’s great to actually read some of the studies where supplements have been shown to have great healing effects. What you often notice is that they have used higher concentrations that many of the popular brands. Glucosamine is a great example. It has been proven to be effective at around 1500mg taken once or twice a day and is far more effective than almost all of the common drugs. However, it has a critical mass to become effective. Often it won’t start to work well until you get near these does. Decent supplements can be expensive and many people taken even lower does than recommended to save money. This unfortunately is a false economy as you may not get any benefit and have thrown your money down the drain.
- Duration. If you took a course of Antibiotics, you know that they take several days to kick in and then you have to finish the course otherwise the ailment may come back. It’s the same for your joints, but as they are so dense, it can take some time before they become effective. Some supplements kick in much quicker than others, but all need a certain amount of time usually measured in months.
- Synergistic Factors. Many supplements work best when combined as they can work synergistically. Glucosamine and Chondroitin are obvious examples where they complement each other. Other substances like MSN can magnify their effects even more.
There is an awful lot more than can be written on this subject, but these are often the most important factor to maximise the benefits and value that you get from using supplements to look after your joints.
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