Helpful Or Hurtful: Should You Keep Taking Fish Oil Supplements?

The study, Plasma Phospholipid Fatty Acids and Prostate Cancer Risk in the SELECT Trial published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, reported an association between men who had high concentrations of marine omega-3 fatty acids in their blood and prostate cancer. With numerous reported benefits of omega-3s, people were understandably confused about the findings. Upon closer review, many medical professionals are calling out the flaws of the study and questioning the assertions. Omega-3s are one of the most researched dietary supplements with more than 8,000 clinical studies to date. One study in particular found fish oil and omega-3s to benefit prostate health.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.chicagotribune.com/special/adsections/aranet/chi-ara-8073260808-20131107,0,7468524.story

Truth Squad: Supplements for Eye Health

Emily Chew, deputy director of the Division of Epidemiology and Clinical Research at the National Eye Institute, and a lead researcher in the AREDS study. According to the study, 50 milligrams daily of beta carotene, 500 milligrams daily of vitamin C, 400 international units of vitamin E, and 80 milligrams of zinc were found to be effective doses of each supplement. In general, many eye health experts may recommend supplements only for those who already experience specific types of vision loss, said Dr. Penny Asbell, director of the Cornea Service and Refractive Surgery Center at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. For example, according to Asbell, supplements may have more benefit to those who suffer from dry age-related macular degeneration, a less severe form of AMD, because of the slower progression of vision loss, rather than the more severe wet AMD. Supplements Will Not Cure All Eye Ills, Doctors Say In fact, Chew said, ophthalmologists should only recommend supplements if an eye exam shows yellow spots in the eye, called drusen, which is a common sign of AMD.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://abcnews.go.com/Health/EyeHealth/supplements-eye-health-work/story?id=8871245

Joint Health Supplements

These supplements, which may be taken separately or together, have gained popularity in recent years. Studies report that glucosamine and chondroitin supplements appear to be relatively safe and well tolerated when used appropriately.5,6 Joint health supplements are formulated to support and protect healthy joint cartilage, serve as an alternative treatment for OA, and are marketed as single-entity or combination products. Table 2: Examples of Common Signs and Symptoms of Osteoarthritis1 Joint soreness after extended periods of overuse or inactivity Episodes of stiffness after periods of rest that goes away rapidly when activity resumes Morning stiffness, which typically lasts no more than 30 minutes Episodes of pain caused by weakening of muscles surrounding the joint due to inactivity or a sedentary lifestyle Joint pain that is typically less painful in the morning but worse in the evening after a days activity Deterioration of coordination, posture, and walking due to pain and stiffness Glucosamine and Chondroitin According to the National Institutes of Health National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), in recent years, glucosamine and chondroitin have demonstrated some potential for reducing pain associated with OA, although there are still conflicting results and there is no conclusive scientific evidence regarding the exact effectiveness of these supplements.6 The Glucosamine/Chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (GAIT), which was cosponsored by the NCCAM and the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, evaluated the effectiveness and safety of glucosamine and chondroitin when taken together or separately.5,6 The trial concluded that the combination of glucosamine and chondroitin did not provide significant relief from pain associated with OA among all participants.6 However, a subgroup of study participants with moderate to severe pain reported significant relief with the combination.6 Glucosamine and chondroitin are classified as natural substances found in and around the cells of cartilage.7 Glucosamine is classified as an endogenous mucopolysaccharide that the body produces and distributes in cartilage and other connective tissue, and chondroitin sulfate is classified as a complex carbohydrate that helps cartilage retain water.7-10 In the United States, glucosamine and chondroitin are sold as dietary supplements, which are regulated as foods rather than drugs.6,7 These supplements are available as single-entity formulations but are most often found in combination formulations. Glucosamine Glucosamine is believed to maintain and strengthen cartilage for overall mobility and support.7-9 Glucosamine is used by the body as a precursor for cartilage synthesis and may also serve as a sulfur donor for the sulfur bonds used in the production of cartilage.7 Research also states that glucosamine is essential to keep cartilage tissue lubricated and to maintain its naturally slippery texture.7-9 Some studies have demonstrated that glucosamine may slow the progression of knee cartilage degradation and increase cartilage growth in some individuals.7-9 Glucosamine supplements are marketed to slow the deterioration of cartilage, relieve pain associated with OA, and improve joint motility.8 Glucosamine is typically given in doses of 1500 mg daily.7 Patients should be advised that glucosamine will not provide pain relief as quickly as analgesics such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and APAP. Glucosamine may take 6 to 8 weeks to exhibit a therapeutic effect; continued use of analgesics, if appropriate and if no contraindications, may be needed.7 The full effects of glucosamine may take as long as 4 to 6 months to be realized.7 The most common adverse effects include nausea, upset stomach, constipation, and diarrhea.7 Adverse effects can be minimized by taking glucosamine in divided doses.7 Pregnant and lactating women should avoid the use of this supplement due to lack of clinical safety data.7 Clinical studies have shown that glucosamine may raise blood pressure and cholesterol levels as well as exacerbate asthma in some individuals, but the clinical results are inconclusive.7-9 Researchers report that glucosamine may interact with anticoagulants such as warfarin, so caution should be observed when both products are used.7-9 In addition, there is conflicting scientific evidence regarding the effects of glucosamine on glucose metabolism.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.pharmacytimes.com/publications/issue/2013/September2013/Joint-Health-Supplements

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s