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Glucosimine Chondroitin
Old 12-16-2008, 01:37 AM   #1
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Glucosimine Chondroitin

I rarely post here, but I thought I'd post my personal experience with knee problems.

It's hard for a 57 year old (me) to play football. Also, competitive basketball. But, fortunately for me, there are softball leagues where I can still compete. I enjoy sports and enjoy softball.

(it s/b noted that I had arthroscopic surgery on my right knee 12 months ago and the doctor said i had no cartilage left in my right knee).

Two months ago, I played games in back-to-back days. (it should be noted that in adult softball, the game lasts about 75 minutes and I run probably 100 yards in total during the game). Anyway, the pain in my right knee was SO bad I really thought I may never play again. The pain remained constant for 5 days. I was almost incapacitated the first day. Then it slowly went away over the next 5 days.

When you're desperate, you do things you don't normally do. I went on the internet and researched treatments for knee pain. I had heard about Glucosimine Chondroitin, but was rather skeptical. I read an article on the internet that said that in large scientific tests, the benefits of these supplements were nil. The placebo group had the same results as the Glucosimine Chondroitin group. My point is that I was predisposed against Glucosimine Chondroitin.

I went to my doctor. He says we got three choices. But the first thing we should try is Glucosimine Chondroitin. I told him he was a quack. He laughed. He said to try it anyway. He reports a 50% success rate with his patients.

I'll cut to the chase here. I've been on Glucosimine Chondroitin for 7 weeks now. Take it religiously 3 times a day. I have experienced very good results.

For example, last week, I got up 3 times and had to run hard from 1st base to home plate all three times. The next day? no pain.

I realize that my experience proves nothing really. But I really had nothing to lose by trying Glucosimine Chondroitin. It worked for me.

You can find this stuff at any major drugstore....and also at Walmart.
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Old 12-16-2008, 01:43 AM   #2
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I know of two people who it works for. Placebo or not. If it makes the pain go away and you feel better its worth it. My Dr. said stick to Glucosimine Sulfate.
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Old 12-16-2008, 07:13 AM   #3
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I have been taking it for about 20 years and have no idea whether it is useful. I have "bad joints." I have heard it described as "connective tissue disorder" (iow - bad joints). I can't run without serious swelling in my ankles. In any event, I read lots of anecdotal stuff claiming Glucosamine/Chondroitin was for me but remained very skeptical. Then our vet prescribed it for an old Golden Retriever who could barely climb the stairs. It appeared to do wonders for her and I could see no possibility of a placebo effect unless it involved our perception of the dog's progress.

Fast forward 20 years and I am no worse than I was then and I am riding bikes about 30 miles/day. Who knows if the meds helped? I plan to keep taking it.
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Old 12-16-2008, 08:11 AM   #4
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My mom has been on it for years... seems to do wonders for her mobility!
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Old 12-16-2008, 08:41 AM   #5
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Back in 2001 my doctor said that although he wouldn't tell me to take it, he was absolutely sure there was no harm in taking it if I wanted to do so. I took it for a month or two and thought it really helped.

I don't take it any more because most of the time the pain of paying for it is worse than the pain in my knees.
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Old 12-16-2008, 09:42 AM   #6
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Then our vet prescribed it for an old Golden Retriever who could barely climb the stairs. It appeared to do wonders for her and I could see no possibility of a placebo effect unless it involved our perception of the dog's progress.
I have never taken it myself, but glucosamine sure appeared to help my old black lab the last couple of years of his life. He went from not being able to climb stairs to almost running up them.
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Old 12-16-2008, 09:50 AM   #7
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I have never taken it myself, but glucosamine sure appeared to help my old black lab the last couple of years of his life. He went from not being able to climb stairs to almost running up them.
Saw the same results giving it to my old lab. It significantly improved the quality of the last year or so of her life.

I tried it and have not had the same luck....although I haven't resorted to getting up and down the stairs on all fours - yet.
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Old 12-16-2008, 10:09 AM   #8
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Dadgum these supplements that take a month to start working--my attention span is about three days and then I forget to keep taking them and then I think they didn't work....
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Old 12-16-2008, 10:21 AM   #9
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I've seen it work great in horses & dog... not so much in people. Took it for a few months, couldn't see any difference. Frankly the best thing for my knees has been squats & lunges, part of workouts that are separate from taekwondo.

Has anyone seen a study affirming glucosamine/chondroiton effects in humans?

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Saw the same results giving it to my old lab. It significantly improved the quality of the last year or so of her life.
Isn't this the point in our lives where our (longer-lived) spouses start bringing home new foods & supplements for us to try?
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Old 12-16-2008, 11:04 AM   #10
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Damn maybe I have some dog in me.
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Old 12-16-2008, 11:39 AM   #11
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Has anyone seen a study affirming glucosamine/chondroiton effects in humans?
Yes, a meta-analysis (detailed review of multiple studies) was published within the past two years. Note that just because the overall effect was minimal, that doesn't invalidate individual experiences.

Short-term efficacy of pharmacotherapeutic interventions in osteoarthritic knee pain: A meta-analysis of randomised placebo-controlled trials

Jan Magnus Bjorda, Atle Klovning, Anne Elisabeth Ljunggren and Lars Slørdal
Department of Public Health and Primary Health Care, University of Bergen, 5018 Bergen, Norway; Department of Laboratory Medicine, Children’s and Women’s Health, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 7489 Trondheim, and St. Olav University Hospital, 7006 Trondheim, Norway

Received 11 November 2005; revised 4 January 2006; accepted 19 February 2006. Available online 8 May 2006.

Conclusion
Clinical effects from pharmacological interventions in OAK (osteoarthritis of the knee) are small and limited to the first 2–3 weeks after start of treatment. The pain-relieving effects over placebo in OAK are smaller than the patient-reported thresholds for relevant improvement.
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Old 12-16-2008, 11:46 AM   #12
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Isn't this the point in our lives where our (longer-lived) spouses start bringing home new foods & supplements for us to try?
Mine is all over this - any excuse for take-out...
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Old 12-17-2008, 04:45 PM   #13
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IIRC much joint pain has a waxing and waning cycle. Most people reach for the supplements when it's at it's worst, and attribute the improvement to the drug.

I used to have trouble playing the piano because of pain in my wrist. I no longer have any problems, and I didn't take any supplements.
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Old 12-17-2008, 04:52 PM   #14
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IIRC much joint pain has a waxing and waning cycle. Most people reach for the supplements when it's at it's worst, and attribute the improvement to the drug.

I used to have trouble playing the piano because of pain in my wrist. I no longer have any problems, and I didn't take any supplements.
Hmm. I've been taking Glucosamine for years and still can't play the piano...
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Old 12-17-2008, 05:31 PM   #15
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Trombone Al:

I understand what you say and have no problem with it.

I also understand that my 7 week trial is unscientific.

Nevertheless, 7 weeks ago, I ran the bases with reckless abandon and paid for it with 10 days of pain.

Last week I ran the bases with reckless abandon and had no pain whatsoever.

It should also be noted that I had had knee problems in the past and months ago I had already chosen to run as "carefully" as I could because I knew I had knee problems...... so I don't think I'm running any more carefully than I did 7 weeks ago. If anything, I'm running a bit more carelessly.

john
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Old 12-17-2008, 05:37 PM   #16
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Yes, a meta-analysis (detailed review of multiple studies) was published within the past two years. Note that just because the overall effect was minimal, that doesn't invalidate individual experiences.
I've thought about this from time to time. So you do a big study, and the results seem to indicate little to no statistical significance. But, what if a small % actually do see a significant improvement, and that gets lost in the big numbers?

It might be due to genetics, or something in their diet, or who knows what. So maybe if we could be more sophisticated about it, we could say - yes, this should work for you, but your neighbor needs this other medicine? Maybe with the DNA testing we are developing, that portion of it may be doable in another 10-20 years?

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Old 12-17-2008, 05:41 PM   #17
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I've thought about this from time to time. So you do a big study, and the results seem to indicate little to no statistical significance. But, what if a small % actually do see a significant improvement, and that gets lost in the big numbers?

It might be due to genetics, or something in their diet, or who knows what. So maybe if we could be more sophisticated about it, we could say - yes, this should work for you, but your neighbor needs this other medicine? Maybe with the DNA testing we are developing, that portion of it may be doable in another 10-20 years?

-ERD50
Exactly, very well put, and in some cases, we know enough now that we can use genetic information. Everything is context sensitive. If you have the appropriate genetic makeup, the intervention might work for you, but not for everyone else. But the statistics will hide that. We are learning that stories are just as important as randomized controlled trials in medical research.
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Old 12-17-2008, 06:25 PM   #18
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DW and I take it every day, but we can't tell any difference, and I often wonder why we continue to take it. OTOH, my dear old Mom with considerable arthritis takes GC every day and tells me it has made a remarkable difference in her case. Maybe one's pain has to be acute to detect the effect of GC...
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Old 12-17-2008, 09:23 PM   #19
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Exactly, very well put, and in some cases, we know enough now that we can use genetic information. Everything is context sensitive. If you have the appropriate genetic makeup, the intervention might work for you, but not for everyone else. But the statistics will hide that. We are learning that stories are just as important as randomized controlled trials in medical research.
Well, I used to be inclined to totally doubt someone who said 'xyz works for me' if I had heard that studies didn't show xyz to be effective. I now leave the door open to thinking, well, maybe it *does* work for *them*.

Even if it is placebo effect, if isn't costing an arm and a leg, and there are no other risks, if it seems to help, then it helps. Good enough.

In fact, my Mother has had some nerve and pain issues the past few years, has seen a few docs and specialists, and has had a few treatments, none of which seemed to help. This last go around, she thought it *might* be helping - so I was very positive, said keep it up, see how it goes. Still seems iffy for her though, she's really not sure if it is better or not. MAybe she will stumble onto something that works for *her*.

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Old 12-17-2008, 10:56 PM   #20
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Have been taking glucosamine hydrochloride/chondroitin sulfate (1500 mg/1200mg) daily for ~10 years, after decades worth of damage to both knees. High school & Navy football; twisted knee splitting firewood; hyperextension in a fall; scarred & swelling after laying down a dirt bike (immediately sold by the DW!); all the usual stupid stuff that adds up over the years.

Arthoscopic surgery in '97 repaired torn meniscus in the left one. Bone-on-bone friction reduced me down to walking less than 100M at a time before I needed to stop, so we did a series of five Supartz (tm) - yep, rooster comb & various plastics - injections in both knees in '00 to buy some time and theoretically insert artificial cartilage where none existed. Bit the bullet in '06 and had TKR (total knee replacement) on the left one, although the surgeon said he could have replaced either knee at that point.

TKR's a whole 'nother thread for 'nother day. Better living through titanium & plastic...

Two years of reasonably intense therapy have gotten me back to 110+ degrees of flexion in the left knee, and the right knee has actually improved to 115 degrees' flexion. Extension on both sides is down to 0 degrees - as flat as they can be.

Has taking the GC combo done anything to help the situation? Hell, I don't know. Despite reading the arthritis books and finding a few studies over the years, I still don't know if it's been a viable part of the overall therapy. But I still take it, and still work the knees out 3X/week, and still use a DynaSplint to exert "gentle pressure, relentlessly applied" flexion pressure. Whatever it takes. And I walk 9 holes at a time (18 requires a cart). And I can make it through Costco or Wally World without having to sit down. Can't jog any more, but who wants to run anywhere at my age?

So here's a vote for a daily CG dose as part of what knee-challenged folks do to stay in the game.

Not a doctor, didn't stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night, and will do what's needed to fight this "aging gracefully" crap all the way!
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