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Glucosamine and NSAIDS

The Absolute TRUTH about NSAIDS and Glucosamine

Why you shouldn’t take NSAIDS long term and what your alternatives are.

Grab a bottle of your favorite NSAIDS, such as ibuprofen or naproxen. Check the label. Do you see how it instructs you to take for NO LONGER than 10 days? This is a problem for people with arthritis, because your pain is constant and only gets worse with time. How are you supposed to follow the label and yet get pain relief at the same time? There is a very good reason that these warnings are finally on the label. The New England Journal of Medicine reports that “anti-inflammatory drugs (prescription and over-the-counter, which include Advil®, Motrin®, Aleve®, Ordus®, Aspirin, and over 20 others) alone cause over 16,500 deaths and over 103,000 hospitalizations per year in the US”, according to a review article published in the New England Journal of Medicine1. While they may be effective in the short term, NSAIDS are not exactly safe in the long term. Stomach bleeding, acute toxicity, liver failure, fatalities…. not exactly something that is worth a little pain reduction over a long period time. Fortunately, there is a better solution when it comes to some of the effects of osteoarthritis.

Keep in mind that with NSAIDS, you are only covering up your pain. Your arthritis is free to progress and get worse. The worst part of all – and this is the MOST important information you will ever read about arthritis – NSAIDS have been clinically shown to INCREASE and ACCELERATE articular damage, inhibit chondroitin synthesis, and suppress proteoglycans synthesis by the chondrocyte2. This is extremely bad for your joints because while you are covering up your pain, your osteoarthritis is getting worse and because you are numbing yourself to your pain, you are not aware of how your joints are deteriorating until it becomes so severe that standard over the counter NSAIDS are no longer effective for you.

Because glucosamine has been shown to be at least as effective if not more (because it has less side effects compared to NSAIDS), it is highly recommended for those suffering from joint discomfort related to osteoarthritis. Glucosamine has been shown to increase flexibility of the joints of those suffering from osteoarthritis as well as to reduce discomfort and inflammation. We all know that unfortunately osteoarthritis (right now) has no cure, and left untreated, arthritis will only get worse. With glucosamine, your joints now have a fighting chance to rebuild cartilage.

In a nutshell, glucosamine gets to the root of the problem and starts the repair process while NSAIDS only mask pain and degrade your cartilage – making your osteoarthritis worse! But hey, NSAIDS are a bit cheaper right? They do temporarily reduce your pain right? Consider what else they can do. NSAIDS also can kill you if you overdose on them. Acetaminophen alone is one of the most common drugs associated with both intentional and accidental poisoning. Don’t forget the 16,500 or so deaths a year and many more hospitalizations to the common “harmless” NSAID. It is time to change all of that.

If you have osteoarthritis, we implore you to - if nothing else - add glucosamine to your current daily life. Even if you are taking NSAIDS now, you will likely notice that you need to take less and less to reduce your pain. Eventually it is possible that you may be able to eliminate your NSAID dosages completely and continue with your healing glucosamine. This could literally save your life.

So why haven't the pharmaceutical companies jumped on this opportunity? One answer: money. If we cured arthritis, the pharmaceutical companies would not be able to make money on every new drug. Instead the pharmaceutical companies continue to come up with patentable new drugs that are slightly better than the last ones, but remember that the drugs you buy today have been in development for over 10 years if not more. They are not exactly cutting edge technology. Glucosamine is a natural supplement and nobody can patent it. Its effectiveness has been proven both in and out of the lab. Glucosamine costs about a dollar a day rather than several hundred dollars a month like some prescription drugs. Lastly, glucosamine has helped hundreds of thousands of people get more active, get healthier and get more from their lives.

Be sure to visit the Glucosamine Product Guide for a review of commercially available glucosamine products broken down by 9 different categories such as price per month, quality and type. Learn what the best products out there are and how we ranked each.

1. Wolfe MM, et. al. New England Journal of Medicine 1999;340(24):1888-99
2. American Journal of Medicine. 1987 Nov 20;83(5A):29-34

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