The Problem with Celebrex and other NSAIDS: Another Reason to Consider Glucosamine and Chondroitin as Alternative for Osteoarthritis Pain

As Dr. Hyla Cass points out in her excellent book Supplement Your Prescription: What Your Doctor Doesn’t Know about Nutrition, NSAIDs (including older ones such as aspirin, as well as newer ones like Celebrex), which are very widely used for arthritis pain, have the unfortunate side effect of inhibiting the enzymes needed to create cartilage. “Essentially,” she writes, “this means that the drugs used to relieve arthritis-related discomfort accelerate the progression of the disease.” (p. 86)

Indeed, as Dr. Cass goes on to note, there’s a study showing that people taking NSAIDs on a regular basis to relieve knee arthritis pain actually have a greater risk of worsening the disease over time than people who take a dummy pill! Moreover, another study showed that people taking NSAIDs for knee arthritis were at higher risk for developing arthritis in the hip or in the other knee, compared to people who did not take these drugs.

Just another reason to consider use of the supplement glucosamine chondroitin to support joint health. See additional information, including dosage recommendations, at NYBC’s Glucosamine Chondroitin entry.

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Adverse effects of NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)

As Dr. Hyla Cass points out in her excellent book Supplement Your Prescription: What Your Doctor Doesn’t Know about Nutrition, NSAIDs (including older ones such as aspirin, as well as newer ones like Celebrex), which are very widely used for arthritis pain, have the unfortunate side effect of inhibiting the enzymes needed to create cartilage. “Essentially,” she writes, “this means that the drugs used to relieve arthritis-related discomfort accelerate the progression of the disease.” (p. 86)

Indeed, as Dr. Cass goes on to note, there’s a study showing that people taking NSAIDs on a regular basis to relieve knee arthritis pain actually have a greater risk of worsening the disease over time than people who take a dummy pill! Moreover, another study showed that people taking NSAIDs for knee arthritis were at higher risk for developing arthritis in the hip or in the other knee, compared to people who did not take these drugs.

Just another reason to consider use of the supplement glucosamine chondroitin to support joint health. See additional information, including dosage recommendations, at NYBC’s Glucosamine Chondroitin entry.

UCLA Division of Geriatrics/David Geffen Medical School on “Four Supplements Seniors Should Take”

We took a look at the recent issue of the Healthy Years newsletter (Volume 4G) from the UCLA David Geffen Medical School’s Division of Geriatrics, and were pleasantly surprised to find a good balance of advice ranging from exercise, diet, medication regimens when called for…and a number of on-target recommendations for promoting long-term health with the aid of dietary supplements.

The UCLA newsletter, which is directed especially to people 60 and older, offers several general supplement recommendations to promote healthy aging: a multivitamin/mineral supplement (because diet and digestive capability tend to change as you age); Vitamin D plus calcium for bone health; fish oil supplements to keep triglyceride levels down; glucosamine and chondroitin for moderate to severe arthritis knee pain; and CoQ 10 to help keep blood cholesterol down when taking a statin drug.  

A couple of other recommendations emerge for specific conditions: non-smokers with early-stage macular degeneration may want to consider an NIH panel’s advice to supplement with zinc and the antioxidant vitamins C, E, and beta carotene. And niacin and/or a fibrate drug could be beneficial in raising HDL (the so-called “good cholesterol”) levels in a person taking a statin.

Thanks, UCLA Division of Geriatrics! It’s nice to see a general-audience publication from a mainstream medical source include balanced information about supplements, and not just fixate on prescription drugs as the only possible choice for every condition.