Alison is a freelance writer on health, nutrition, skincare, and pets, especially cats and dogs.
If you are considering taking liquid supplements to ease the pain of osteoarthritis, this article sets out some advice to help you make your choice from the huge number of liquid supplement products on the market.
WebMD actually advises readers to give some of the supplements advertised to cure arthritis a very wide berth as far from doing good, they can actually cause harm. So, when you are doing your research online or elsewhere, for suitable supplements,
- Check the manufacturer. If it is a big, well known brand, you have the reassurance of stringent testing and quality controls and confidence that the product is licensed.
- Check the website or store selling it. Is it a well known pharmacy or retailer of health food products. If so, you will have the reassurance that they will be stringent in ensuring that they sell only top quality products.
- In the United States, you should also look for whether the product you are considering has the United States Pharmacopoeia verification on the product labelling - again, this will give you the reassurance that the product is of a high standard.
- Steer clear of products that you have never heard of, or which seem to make outrageous claims such as "miracle cure", "secret formula" and so on. Don't rely on hearsay or testimonials (which may be bogus unless they are backed up by verifiable scientific research).
Over The Counter Liquid Supplements for Osteoarthritis
In this section, we will look at the most popular and well-known of the supplements for Osteoarthritis that are available in liquid form and provide some product suggestions for you based on efficacy, customer feedback and price.
Glucosamine is one of the main components of the cartilage in our joints. Glucosamine supplements come from the shells of sea creatures. This is a supplement that can be taken alone, or combined with Chondroitin. Most recommendations are that it is more effective taken in combination with Chondroitin.
Glucosamine seems to have a similar effect to Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) for the relief of pain in Osteoarthritis. However, the results are not instant and you may need to take the supplement regularly for a month before you start feeling the benefits.
In addition to the relief of pain, it works to help keep joints lubricated by helping cartilage to absorb water. This lubrication may slow down the deterioration of cartilage which causes the pain.
You should not use glucosamine if you have a shellfish allergy. There can be side effects. These may be digestive, with mild nausea or heartburn or a change in bowel movements (either looser or more constipated). In addition, it can increase blood glucose levels and blood pressure and raise cholesterol levels.
Our Recommended Liquid Glucosamine Supplement (also Contains some Chondroitin)
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Synflex 1500 Liquid Glucosamine Formula for Arthritis
Many people think that liquid glucosamine is better than taking capsules because of greater bioavailabity.
One product that stands out because of the great customer reviews it gets and for the sensible price is the Synflex 1500 Liquid Glucosamine Formula for Arthritis.
This product contains the recommended daily dose of glucosamine of 1500 mg plus 25 mg of Chondroitin.
Interestingly it also contains the natural supplement, White Willow bark which is a source of Salicyn. Salicyn is converted in the body to Salicylic Acid, a natural pain reliever and it is claimed by the manufacturers, that taking it this way eliminates the side effects often associated with taking Aspirin.
I have not been able to find any liquid chondroitin supplements that are not a combination of glucosamine and chondroitin. Supplements containing chondroitin are a popular choice as a treatment for osteoarthritis.
Like glucosamine, it is a substance which naturally occurs in the bodies of animals and humans. It is found in connective tissue, for example in gristle on bones.
Supplements contain chondroitin from animal sources such as cartilage taken from shark or beef and whilst I have been able to find a vegan glucosamine product with the glucosamine obtained from corn (although, admittedly, not in liquid form), I have not been able to find a vegetarian or vegan product for chondroitin.
There are some reported associated side effects with this product. Although these are rare and most people get no symptoms at all, there are reports of loose stools, itchy rashes, headaches and mood swings.
It can also act to thin the blood so if you are already taking blood-thinning medication, you should speak to your Doctor first.
In addition, you should not take it if you are allergic to shellfish. If you have athsma or have been diagnosed with prostate cancer you should take your Doctor's advice on whether this supplement is suitable for you.
Most of these recommendations are precautionary because Chondroitin has not been used as a supplement for as long as Glucosamine. However, the advice is that children should not use it and it is also to be avoided if you are pregnant or breast feeding.
Our Recommended Product is Available at a Big Discount from Amazon!
Wellesse Joint Movement Glucosamine with Chondroitin + MSM
This supplement gets great reviews, is good value and is pleasant to take.
Two tablespoons will provide 2000 mg of glucosamine and the recommended daily dosage of 1200 mg of chondroitin which, as explained in the section about glucosamine above, helps to lubricate cartilage to reduce wear on joints and make movement easier.
As an added bonus, this rapidly absorbed, liquid formula contains 500 mg of MSM (see below for how this substance helps with osteoarthritis too). You should not take this product if you are allergic to shellfish.
MSM is an acronym for the sulfur compound Methylsulfonylmethane. Although this substance is becoming popular as a treatment for osteoarthritis, because it is claimed to
- Reduce the pain and inflammation from joints
- Help the body to form new connective tissue
- Damp-down nerve impulses to the brain which transmit pain
It is a natural substance found in humans, animals and in grains, vegetables and fruit.
However, the claims are largely anecdotal from those using the product because there have not been any large scale studies into its efficacy. A 2006 study where fifty adults suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee demonstrated an improvement in the physical functioning of their knee joints and a reduction in their pain on a daily dose of 6,000 mg. Moreover, they reported no serious side effects
The Wellesse product mentioned above contains MSM in addition to glucosamine and chondroitin. However, there are MSM only supplements available.
Supplements are Only Meant to be a Part of Your Treatment Plan!
Supplements, as the name implies are meant to be part of your treatment plan, to supplement what you are already doing. Just taking these products, no matter how good they are, will not bring best results unless you take action in other areas of your life too!
So, what else can you do?
Try to lose weight
- If you are overweight or obese. The extra weight puts additional strain on affected joints, especially weight bearing ones, such as knees!
Take regular exercise
- Yoga or Pilates will gently stretch you, helping to keep the flexibility in your joints as good as possible.
- Strengthening your muscles will help, as will improving balance to help avoid the possibility of falls and causing further damage.
Look at your diet
- Try to change it to include more Omega-3 rich foods.
- Cut down on refined carbohydrates, sugar and saturated fats.
Alison Graham (author) from UK on May 24, 2013:
Thanks Melovy, it is well documented that stress is a major contributory factor in inflammatory illnesses so I am glad to hear that your mother is now in less pain. Glucosamine seems to be more effective when taken with chondroitin (at least, for Osteoarthritis). Lifestyle changes can make a massive difference too.
Yvonne Spence from UK on May 24, 2013:
Some really useful information here, and I like that you've also included lifestyle changes that can help too. My mother has taken glucosamine, but I'm not sure how much it helped as I think she also tried various other things. Stress was a big factor for her, and she is coping with that much better now and has less pain.
Useful and pinning!