General Question

avalmez's avatar

Do you guys put any trust in the claims made about vitamin and other dietary supplements?

Asked by avalmez (1614points) June 27th, 2009

for example, has anyone had a positive experience using chondroitin and/or glucosamine to alleviate joint pain? just as i started taking them to alleviate knee issues i re-injured my knee and so have no idea if taking them has had a positive effect or not.

this is a general question about supplements and the issues supporters claim they alleviate so anyone with comments about supplements other than those i mentioned are welcomed.

what have your experiences with supplements been? what would you wholeheartedly recommend or care to debunk in no uncertain terms?

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13 Answers

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Most vitamin supplements are passed through the urine with minimal benefit.

It seems your situation goes beyond that of ordinary vitamin pills though.

I hope your situation improves quickly.

willbrawn's avatar

No I don’t not. I trust something that works even better. Eat healthy and watch what you eat. Along that workout. Burn fat and build muscle. It’s guaranteed to work.

asmonet's avatar

@willbrawn: You don’t…not?


willbrawn's avatar

@asmonet yes. I am great at grammer lol

marinelife's avatar

There is no general answer to your question. You have to evaluate any substance as if it was a drug. You need to look into proper therapeutic dosage (do not just go by the back of the bottle). You need to check for possible interactions with prescriptions or other over-the-counter medications that you are taking. You need to make sure the supplement, herb or vitamin is not contraindicated for any chronic condition that you may have. For example, people with high blood pressure should not use goldenseal.

Because supplements are not regulated the way that prescription medications are, you need to do your own research to see if there are reputable, controlled, double-blind scientific studies (not just marketing claims) for the efficaciousness of a specific substance. Fortunately, with the Web today, that is not as hard as it once was.

To answer your specific question about glucosamine/chrondroitan. Yes, they can help. An analysis of the studies from the National Institutes of Health provides some useful data. Here is an excerpt:

“Trials of glucosamine and chrondroitin preparations for OA symptoms demonstrate moderate to large effects, but quality issues and likely publication bias suggest that these effects are exaggerated. Nevertheless, some degree of efficacy appears probable for these preparations.”

I will also add that I had recommended that my Mom begin using them for her knee pain. She is not at all a believer in alternative medicine. The form she was getting in were these really large horse pills. After a few months, she decided they were too difficult to take so she stopped. Within two weeks, she had so much knee pain she could barely hobble. Needless to say, she got it in a small capsule and started taking it again right away. She told me this story with real wonderment and said, “That stuff really works.”

Sorry about the re-injury. Good luck with your knee.

lillycoyote's avatar

Yes, I have used chondroitin and glucosamine combined for arthritis in my hands and it has worked wonders. I started taking for back pain and it didn’t do anything for that but I noticed that all the pain in my hands was completely gone. I think it’s great stuff, at least it really worked for me. You do have to make sure that you are taking the right dosage, that you give it long enough to work, it can be up to six weeks before you notice results and make sure you buy a quality product to ensure that you are actually getting glucosamine and chondroitin and getting them in the correct amounts.

juwhite1's avatar

I think a healthy diet gets you all the nutrients you need. That said, some of this depends on whether it is fat or water soluble. If water soluble, excess vitamins will just be passed in your urine, but when fat soluble, getting too much of a good thing can be very harmful. There are some natural products that can be beneficial for certain conditions, but I’d rely on actual research by the scientific community in determining that rather than the claims of products being sold. There are plenty of non-regulated products out there promising the world but only delivering a lower balance in your checking account.

juwhite1's avatar

Oh yeah… and if you don’t have a healthy diet, I do think that taking a multivitamin/multimineral is beneficial, but just one, regular supplement rather than 20 or 30 different supplements with excessive doses.

YARNLADY's avatar

Always check with your doctor or dietician before taking any dietary supplement or vitamin. They are in a much better position to know your particular medical condition. I got the best advice when my general practicioner referred me to a dietician. She helped me determine the proper healthy foods to eat, and find the most useful supplements for my individual needs.

RedPowerLady's avatar

They have helped me. I have particularly seen a huge change after taking fish oil supplements. I once stopped taking them by accident and immediately noticed the ill effects. I find I have a much better mood and more energy when I take my supplements. Simply personal experience.

avalmez's avatar

hey all thanks for the feedback. sorry it took so long to respond but i was drawn away for awhile. in any case, i appreciate the responses from all of you!

wlc's avatar

I suggest you check Douglas Laboratories. Supplements for joint pain are Ultra Joint Forte, Flex-Ha and Vo-Vezyme. I have not tried these but I whole heartedly believe in supplements and functional medicine. You might consult a functional medicine practitioner in your area for a specific solution.

lillycoyote's avatar

I actually have had very good results using glucosamine and chondroitin for the arthritis in my hands. When I first took it I was hoping to relieve some of my back pain but noticed that the pain in my hands had pretty much completely disappeared, when before it had been painful to even squeeze a bottle of shampoo in the shower.

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