>Food as Medicine: Nutraceuticals or Supplements

>Today I will begin a series on different supplements or nutraceuticals. Remember that information in different books may widely vary. And there are differences between food as medicine, such as soy and tea are called  ” food-derived nutraceuticals.”
We will start with Glucosamine:
The most widely marketed supplement for degenerative joint disease, it is available from most pharmacies and health food stores.
It is sometimes combined in supplements with the compound chondroitin sulfate.  Both of these compounds work together to improve cartilage metabolism and to have anti-inflammatory effects.
Therefore, it may slow the progression of osteoarthritis.

As for the anti-inflammatory effects,  NSAIDs ( commonly used for pain and inflammation) were compared to Glucosomine in a study. The study found that they were equally as effective for the relief of the inflammation of arthritis in 200 patients with Osteoarthritis knee pain.

The dosages used: 1500 mg /day of Glucosamine versus 1200 mg/day of NSAIDs
Fish oil
Fish oils have been used to treat musculoskeletal conditions for over 200 years.  The basis for this beneficial effect is believed to be the high concentrations of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs)
such as Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)  and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) present in oily fish such as mackerel, sardines and salmon.
Reumatoid Arthritis: Studies investigating the benefits of fish oils on joint health have concentrated on RA due to the strong inflammatory component of this disease.

There were statistically significant improvement after 3 months for tender joints and the morning stiffness in patients who received the fish oil.

In further studies, after 12 months on treatment with fish oil, patients were able to reduce other pain relievers such as NSAIDS.
There were mild adverse effects of the fish oil such as nausea, flatulence, diarrhea, and fishy taste and odor.

Taken from: Lockwood, B. ( 2007). Nutraceuticals. 2nd Ed. Grayslake, Il. Pharmaceutical Press