Doctor’s Best Glucosamine Chondroitin MSM, as the name directly implies, is a joint support formula containing…you guessed it…Glucosamine, Chondroitin, and MSM!
Glucosamine is a member of the group known as ‘amino sugars’, and has been studied primarily in regards to joint health. Glucosamine is commonly found in two forms: glucosamine sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride. Glucosamine sulfate appears to be the most readily absorbed when consumed orally.
While originally thought to directly induce collagen synthesis, more recent research indicates that glucosamine may actually work by inhibiting Interleukin-1, a protein which regulates inflammatory response and ultimately breaks down collagen.
By inhibiting IL-1, glucosamine may reduce inflammation and slow down the degradation of collagen, thereby preserving the joint and possibly reducing joint pain. This was evidenced in a recent 2013 study, as well as a 2009 study which noted lower levels of CX-II (a bio-marker of collagen breakdown) in athletes (bicyclists and soccer players) following glucosamine supplementation (most effective at 3 grams daily).
While glucosamine appears to be atleast somewhat effective at preserving joints, there is no evidence to suggest that supplementation can reverse osteoarthritis (degradation of joints). However, preserving joints is still of much importance to athletes (particularly high impact sports) who may be in danger of developing osteoarthritis. Overall, glucosamine may certainly benefit those suffering from osteoarthritis (or perhaps less severe joint degradation), but the miracle claims made by some supplement companies are a bit exaggerated.
Doctors Best contains 750mg of glucosamine sulfate per (2 capsule) serving which, when taken twice daily, achieves the minimum effective dose of 1500mg glucosamine daily. Users may choose to double the dose in order to achieve maximum efficacy. Glucosamine is remarkably safe at these levels.
Chondroitin, a major component of cartilage, is generally seen along-side glucosamine in joint supplements based on the belief that the two work synergistically together to reduce inflammation and repair joints. In vitro, chondroitin and glucosamine have been demonstrated to synergistically induce collagen synthesis.
However, in vivo studies comparing and contrasting the effects of chondroitin relative to glucosamine fail to find such synergy between the two. In fact, most of the benefit obtained from supplementation with glucosamine and chondroitin is thought to be from glucosamine as chondroitin has shown little promise when studied in isolation.
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is similar in efficacy to glucosamine, but a significant synergistic effect has never been recorded. It is hypothesized that the real benefit of MSM lies in the fact that it contains sulfur, which is a component of collagen, and thus necessary for functional, healthy joints. According to this hypothesis, only people with sulfur deficiencies would derive benefit, and would be able to derive the same benefit from other sulfur containing compounds such as the amino acids methionine and cysteine.
However, this is just a hypothesis and an exact mechanism of action is not currently known. Overall, it appears MSM offers the same benefits as glucosamine in regards to joint health, but there is no evidence that the same benefit cannot be derived from glucosamine supplementation alone.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
While Glucosamine or MSM may certainly benefit individuals suffering from joint pain resulting from osteoarthritis (especially related to sulfur deficiency), the evidence for chondroitin is lacking. Furthermore, the evidence that there is a synergistic effect when glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM are combined is non-existent, as there is more evidence to the contrary. Users of this product may experience some decreased pain and stiffness, but its possible the same results might be achieved with simply taking glucosamine alone. At a little over 20 cents a dose (750 mg glucosamine per dose), Doctor’s Best Glucosamine Chondroitin MSM is slightly more expensive than a glucosamine only supplement yielding the same dose, so those seeking an osteoarthritis supplement may choose to try glucosamine alone first.
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- Ezaki, Junko, et al. “Assessment of safety and efficacy of methylsulfonylmethane on bone and knee joints in osteoarthritis animal model.”Journal of bone and mineral metabolism 31.1 (2013): 16-25.
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