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SKEPTOID BLOG:

Should I be taking a supplement to keep my joints healthy so I can maintain an active lifestyle?

by Dani Johnson

September 13, 2013

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Donate I've been seeing this commercial for Joint Juice on TV, lately, and found myself actually wondering whether or not this particular dietary supplement is different than all the rest. I wondered, for just a moment, whether or not this one was for real because it was developed by an orthopedic surgeon. After a little research, I even found out that studies actually do show positive trends when patients that already have Osteoarthritis take the supplement (article one, two, and three). I actually got excited for a minute! This goes to show that it is all too easy to be sucked into an advertisement and suddenly find yourself wondering where reality just went, even if you define yourself as a skeptic. What exactly is Joint Juice, anyway? Let's take a look at the commercial I've been seeing:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qOqK_GjoUM

The commercial says that Joint Juice was originally developed by an Orthopedic Surgeon for professional athletes, but it is just as good for anyone who likes to keep moving. If I drink one per day it is supposed to help lubricate the joints in my body to help me maintain a pain-free and active lifestyle. I gathered up some information from the website's Frequently Asked Questions section to take a closer look at the product. It should be noted that these statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.

Why should I use the product?

We tend to produce less glucosamine as we age. Therefore, supplementing with daily glucosamine has been shown to be effective in maintaining healthy joint cartilage.

How does the product work?

Together with glucosamine, chondroitin stimulates your body to produce glucosaminoglycans, which act as powerful water magnets. These "magnets" increase the water content of your joint cartilage keeping it healthy and lubricated while increasing its shock-absorbing potential. These effects aren't just limited to cartilage - all the body's tissues benefit from increased hydration.

What are the side effects?

All Joint Juice products follow strict standards for purity and are guaranteed to meet all label claims for ingredients. In clinical studies, participants using glucosamine and chondroitin have not experienced any higher levels of adverse events than those taking a placebo.

What happens if I accidentally take too much?

All Joint Juice products are very safe. For healthy people it is safe to take more than one Joint Juice supplement drink, Joint Juice Easy Shot supplement or Joint Juice On-The-Go drink mix a day, or to use other joint health supplements in combination with Joint Juice products.

Product Pricing

I can even buy the product directly from their website for $29.99 for 30 8-ounce bottles of regular strength Cran-Pomegranate Joint Juice. That means I would have to spend more than $30 a month to maintain this regime.

There are already a couple of episodes of Skeptoid that point the skeptical eye at immune boosting vitamin supplements, supplements that stave off the common cold and how to spot pseudoscience. To sum it all up, taking any kind of daily vitamin supplement isn't going to help me in any way. It isn't going to get rid of a cold any faster, nor will it prevent me from contracting the cold to begin with. Yes, this means that vitamins also won't help maintain my joints or even aid in the recovery of a joint injury.

I find myself thinking, "But, every time I take supplements, I feel so good. They HAVE to be working, right?", but that way of thinking isn't taking all of the other variables that determine whether or not I feel a certain way. Let's take a look at this article from Quack watch to explore Why Bogus Therapies Often Seem to Work. The article points out that There are at least seven reasons why people may erroneously conclude that an ineffective therapy works:

1. The disease may have run its natural course.

2. Many diseases are cyclical [and have "ups and downs" normally].

3. The placebo effect may be responsible.

4. People who hedge their bets credit the wrong thing.

5. The original diagnosis or prognosis may have been incorrect.

6. Temporary mood improvement can be confused with cure.

7. Psychological needs can distort what people perceive and do.

Of course, the original article goes into more detail, but this method of thinking can be applied here to determine whether or not other things could cause me to feel better a mere few weeks after I start my new Joint Juice regime.

I am no trained doctor, but I am fairly certain that many minor sports injuries such as a sprained ankle, runners knee, or tennis elbow will go away on their own within a week or two. If someone is already expecting a product to work, whether they heard so from a friend or read it in a magazine, they are primed to believe that it is the product that is causing their injury to heal when it would really have healed on its own, anyway. So, if I'm planning on drinking Joint Juice to aid in recovering from a minor sports injury I should, instead, use that $30 to purchase a nice heating pad (or ice pack) and an OTC pain reliever to help ease the symptoms until the issue resolves itself.

There are more than a few joint conditions that have symptoms that come and go in cycles. For example, people who suffer from arthritis will have a "flare-up" of symptoms that come and go with no apparent trigger. If I am planning to use Joint Juice to help ease or reduce a "flare-up" of symptoms associated with a cyclical condition, it is better for me to save my $30 (per month if I stay on the regime) as it will surely be better spent on something that will actually ease my pain, such as a corticosteroid, a prescription pain killer, massage treatment or pain management therapy.

Joint Juice is also supposed to help maintain healthy joints so that they can stay healthy, but there is not enough evidence to support that supplements actually do anything significant to maintain healthy bones and joints. According to the Arthritis Health Center at WebMD, the best thing I can do to maintain my joints is the same advice that is given to maintain health in a more general sense. I should maintain my weight, eat right and exercise regularly. I should also take care not to injure my joints by over doing it when I exercise, or not knowing my limits when moving heavy objects or playing sports. Those little bottles of flavored sugar water don't look like they taste really good, anyway.

by Dani Johnson

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