MED WATCH: Schiff Move Free Advanced dietary supplementScience is still undecided about these ingredients, but if you suffer from osteoarthritis and want to try this under a doctor’s guidance, the NIH study suggests that three months is enough time to determine if a supplement is effective. If there is no significant decrease in symptoms by this time, discontinue use.
By: Jodi Mailander Farrell, McClatchy Newspapers
Product: Schiff Move Free Advanced dietary supplement for treatment of osteoarthritis, $32.95 for 140 tablets, at CVS, Walgreens and Publix.
Key ingredients: Glucosamine hydrochloride; chondroitin sulfate; a “uniflex” extract with Chinese scullcap, black catechu and maltodextrin; and hyaluronic acid.
How it works: Glucosamine, an amino sugar, is thought to promote the formation and repair of cartilage. Chondroitin, a carbohydrate, is a cartilage component that is thought to promote water retention and elasticity, and to inhibit the enzymes that break down cartilage.
The pitch: Starts comforting sore joints in less than seven days.
Pros: While a National Institutes of Health study in 2006 found that glucosamine plus chondroitin had no significant effect on symptoms of osteoarthritis, a secondary analysis concluded the supplements taken together may be effective for people with moderate-to-severe pain. The study also showed chondroitin sulfate significantly decreased joint swelling. OsteoArthritis Research Society International recommends chondroitin sulfate for symptom relief of osteoarthritis. No study so far has found any serious side effects from glucosamine or chondroitin.
Cons: Along with finding no conclusive benefits for all osteoarthritis patients, the NIH study advises that those who want to take supplements should take glucosamine sulfate rather than glucosamine hydrochloride, which is in this product.
A study published in Arthritis & Rheumatism last year found glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate performed no better than a placebo in slowing the rate of cartilage loss. The evidence both for and against glucosamine’s efficacy has led to debate among physicians about whether to recommend glucosamine, according to the Centre for Rheumatology in London.
While the product cites research on its specific ingredients, none of the studies have been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Animal research has raised the possibility that glucosamine may worsen insulin resistance, a major cause of diabetes, although human studies haven’t substantiated that risk. Chondroitin can cause bleeding in people who have a bleeding disorder or take a blood-thinning drug.
Bottom line: Science is still undecided about these ingredients, but if you suffer from osteoarthritis and want to try this under a doctor’s guidance, the NIH study suggests that three months is enough time to determine if a supplement is effective. If there is no significant decrease in symptoms by this time, discontinue use.