As the owner of an aging horse, I’m always keeping my eyes open for information on joint supplements and scientific research. Neutriceuticals are still a gray area, mostly because there is no regulation and very little scientific evidence of their efficacy.
I came across two references recently that I found interesting:
- Glucosamine and Joint Health: Pharmacologic Research OngoingCanadian researchers recently compared the pharmacologic properties of two different forms of glucosamine–hydrochloride and sulphate. They measured significantly higher levels of glucosamine in synovial fluid samples from horses receiving the oral glucosamine sulphate formulation as compared to synovial fluid levels in horses receiving oral glucosamine hydrochloride.
- Update on Equine Joint Healthcare, a Round Table Discussion on Chondroprotective Agents: This discussion which was sponsored by Nutramax (the manufacturer of Cosequin), but it has some excellent information and insights from some real heavy hitters. The discussion is moderated by Wayne McIlwraith, BVSc, PhD, DSc, DACVS, Director of Equine Orthopedics Research enter and Professor of Surgery at the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine. The participating vets were Kent Allen, DVM, Viginia Equine Imaging; Michael Davis, DVM, MS, Founder and CEO of the New England Equine Medical & Surgical Center; Douglas Langer, DVM, MS, VP, Partner & Director of Surgery & Diagnostic Imaging at the Wisconsin Equine Clinic & Hospital; Brian MacNamara, DVM, Warwick Equine Clinic; and Richard Stevens, DVM, Conejo Valley Veterinary Hospital. It is well worth reading.
The article raised some very interesting points about joint supplements. The vets talk about a study conducted The statements that stunned me the most was this one from Dr. Stevens: “There was a very recent report (www.consumerlabs.com/results/gluco.asp) that compared the labeled ingredients versus what was actually in the product. Of the five veterinary glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate products tested as of September 2007, two failed: One contained only 0.7% of the labeled quantity of chondroitin sulfate and 47.2% of the labeled glucosamine hydrochloride amount, and the other had only 2.1% of the labeled chondroitin sulfate amount.”
And this one from Dr. McIlwaith, “Research by Oke showed that 78% of equine glucosamine products didn’t meet their label claims; 39% had levels below the labeled claim (some even had none of a listed ingredient) and the others had levels signifi cantly higher than indicated. Until the manufacturers have to prove efficacy, there are always going to be problems, but having the products match their labels would be a good start.”
Wow! At the prices you pay for most joint supplements, it’s appalling to realize that you might not get anything even close to what you are paying for. Among the five products tested by Consumer Labs for pets, only the supplements by Nutramax (Cosequin) and Martingale Labs (GLC) contained the ingredients in the percentages claimed on the labels. Now, this study was by no means comprehensive, but it does make you skeptical of the “juju” powder!