Health Supplements

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Health Supplements

Postby Bill Glasheen » Tue Jan 19, 1999 5:10 am


I went to the web page you put in your previous post.

1) It's on the web - it MUST be true!

2) This Medical Letter written for glucosamine was two years old. More research has come out since then.

3) This guy only included 4 week studies. WHY???? All the one's I've read about (that are worth looking at) are 12 weeks studies. I discounted all the 4 week ones. I detect a bias here towards including only poorly-done work. I could destroy any line of research with this ploy!

With all those caveats, this guy sure is cool on something that - in his own words - has been as effective as popular antiinflammatories. It is VERY significant that glucosamine/chondroitin is as effective as popular medicines like ibuprofen. Why?

Virtually all antiinflammatories are cyclooxigenase (COX) inhibitors. A subset of these substances - COX 3 - are precursors to the chemicals that ultimately cause inflammation. So we can reduce inflammation and pain in arthritics by taking ibuprofen for a lifetime, right?

Hold on.

Virtually all antiinflammatories also inhibit COX-1 substances. These substances ultimatly play a vital role in the making of our intestinal lining. Used to be that folks thought that the actual caustic nature of the pain reliever caused stomach irritation that led to ulcers. A lot of work was spent on producing buffered and enteric-coated aspirin. Now they know better. In fact the knowledge gained from the research that FINALLY led to an understanding of how aspirin worked led to an understanding of how much havoc antiinflammatories could wreak when used for long periods of time. This has led to a new brand of drug that is specifically a COX-3 inhibitor. Unfortunately this drug and the subsequent copycats will be way too expensive for most folks while the drug companies recoup their R&D, and insurance companies will be reeling when the millions of subscriptions come rolling in. It will be a VERY long time before these substances are sold over the counter for a reasonable price.

In the mean time, wouldn't it be nice if we found something that worked as well as ibuprofen that didn't destroy the gastrointestinal lining when used for a lifetime? And wouldn't it be nice if it worked because it actually affected the underlying condition? The reason why injesting glucosamine MIGHT help treat primary and secondary osteoarthritis is because the enzyme that converts glucose and glutamine to glucosamine in our bodies decreases with age. It makes sense that we MIGHT be able to cheat mother nature.

Maybe I'm a dreamer, J.D.


[This message has been edited by Bill Glasheen (edited 01-18-99).]
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Postby Jackie Olsen » Tue Jan 19, 1999 4:20 pm

At the risk of being taken on by the formidable, Dr. X Image ... I have to agree with Lori and Tony. After much investigation over a period of 15 years, I take homeopathic products, too, as well as various assortment of herbs -- depending upon my health, or what I "feel" my body needs (yes, I believe in Chi, too.)

Since I've instituted a nutritional/herbal - bioflavids supplements routine complemented with Bach remedies, homeopathic remedies, etc. I've almost eliminated my severe annual bronchial infection. It would usually knock me out for a least 4-8 weeks. And, my hip and lower back pain is just about gone.

I still get my annual checkups and will take antibiotics if necessary, but I sure feel a whole lot better than I ever have.

Again, it all depends on what your body needs to maintain health. For instance, I did go the "natural route" for menopause for 3 years, but just did not either respond to the therapy or find the right combination. So, I do take hormones for the time being and am a happy camper since doing so.

To quote Lori, who said it quite eloquently:
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>So, above all use common sense. Become an educated consumer - It's YOUR body! Don't buy the latest "herb du jour" without investigating potential side
effects thoroughly. Get a primer on alternative medicine and learn a little before you condemn....<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

[This message has been edited by Jackie Olsen (edited 01-19-99).]
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Postby Bill Glasheen » Tue Jan 19, 1999 7:36 pm


MY how we generalize. How unscientific of you!

You forget that career-wise, my research department is a division of medical policy for a health insurance company. We do not pay for any care that isn't evidence-based. We are the folks that the Tradition and Folklore physicians hate. That attitude about what works and what doesn't and why some things work also affects my decisions about personal health care.

My personal decision to take a product that shows PROMISE of being efficacious is separate from any other "alternative" approaches mentioned.

I understand that I cannot say why - in my particular case - my knees are doing better. Personally I don't care if it's because of an efficacious treatment or placebo effect or the bat guano I inhale when I work around the woods. I had a problem and I did research. I made a treatment decision. I am better. I am not now going to "fix" what ain't broke because Dr. Skeptics says I'm not playing with a full deck (even if it's true).

As for the causality obsession, medicine isn't the only place that you see this. Every day I listen to the stock market report. The Dow can be up a tenth of a percent, and some idiot on the news will be telling me that it was because coffee is cheaper in Brazil. Bull****! As my mentor once told me, "Nature loves noise!" As the teenagers say, "S*** happens!"
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Postby gmattson » Tue Jan 19, 1999 9:55 pm

J.D.: this should have been posted before your last offering. . . you know, the serious one!

Now that I have joined your CultAMA(tm), lets discuss the "unbelievers" options:

1. Should Bill Glasheen not taken the placebo and continued experiencing the pain and possible degeneration of his knee until our CultAMA(tm) could approve a treatment? (btw, I've just become the exclusive distributor for "jumplikeafrog" titanium joints in New England!

2. Can we (Cult-AMA)(tm), create a neat advertising campain. . . like the ones in magazines. . . where we can show an actor (perhaps Bruce Willis) leaping like Dennis Rodman with his brand new shiny joints? There may be a way we can link NIKE into the ad: "Do it with Titanium"!

How can we convince Bill, Tony, Lori etc that they would have been much better off with their pain and suffering. I'll never be able to pay for that new Ferrarri I've ordered, unless I make quota! I'm throwing in a Rodman autographed ankle joint with every hip or knee set througout the month of February!


[This message has been edited by gmattson (edited 01-19-99).]
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Postby Bill Glasheen » Tue Jan 19, 1999 9:58 pm

As I stated before, I agree that success in 12 week trials does not guarantee long-term success. But it doesn't portend failure either. At this point we just don't know.

Consumers spend billions on these health food store remedies. Some work. Most just make the industry richer. Go out and buy some health food store stock - that's your best bet for success with these substances.

But "traditional" medicine itself also has a history of "nontraditional" experimentation. The fellow who discovered that H Pilori caused duodenal ulcers (and put the drug manufacturer's profits for H2 antagonists at risk) experimented on himself in the research. He actually infected himself with H Pilori just to experience the phenomenon of gastric irritation from infection. One cannot make hard conclusions from anecdotes, even if you can get your name in print by publishing your case of "disco finger" in the New England Journal of Medicine (this is a true NEJM case history). But personal experience leads to hypotheses which lead to series of experiments that may or may not be repeatable. And for every good study that is done, at least one bogus one is performed by someone with a degree and nothing upstairs. And in order to get your BIG study funded, you have to show your short, small successes. In the end the truth works its way to the surface.

In the mean time while Science plods slowly forward...some of us have needs and make personal choices because we are willing to take the risks. In the end it is choice and informed consent.

[This message has been edited by Bill Glasheen (edited 01-19-99).]
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Postby Kevin Mackie » Wed Jan 20, 1999 5:28 am

Anthony, put a rolled up towel on your chair at your desk and do the same for your car for lumbar support. Also when you do trunk stretching, stretch as farrrrrr as you can.

This has worked for me, and others I know. I bet your back will be 100% in a few months.

Your shoulder can be healed by laying off it for a while coupled with some physical therapy. I can fax you copies of exercises that saved my shoulder if you like.

Also you have demonstated that taking pills cause unwanted side affects. Taking naprelan caused your foot injury.
Classical scientific cause and effect in action. Proof beyond all reason. lay off the stuff.

Whiffle bat?? what no oak or hickory available on FLA?


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