Supplement Perspectives

Joint Health: Alternative Now Mainstream

<p>At least, according to Google News, says Blake Ebersole.</p>

We all know that joint health is a category of great popularity within dietary supplements and alternative health, due to the number of people who suffer from painful conditions like osteoarthritis. But because alternative health is often portrayed as nothing but an expensive placebo, one question often remains: is the purported effectiveness of alternative remedies a reality, or just perception?

On this question, I consulted Google, unquestionably one of the most knowledgeable sources on this subject. Google has revolutionized how we understand the world. Its results, particularly when using refined tools like Google Scholar and Google News, are a good indicator of scientific findings (and biases for and against). Its results, when taken on an objective and statistical basis, can be indicative of the collective knowledge of the world.  

To get an understanding of what side the research falls, I typed into the Google News search the word osteoarthritis. Although this analysis was limited to a single search of current news articles on the topic, and necessarily qualitative, it gave some insights that may surprise many who believe in the use of conventional allopathic medicine only.

What I found was an interesting list of news articles, from media sources vetted by Google to be authentic, that adhere to a standard level of editorial authenticity.  Interestingly, the number of sources talking about new research on alternative osteoarthritis treatments far outnumbered those considered conventional. 

A number of other treatments were found in the search results, including the announcement that FDA has approved a new drug, whose active ingredient is hyaluronic acid. Not surprisingly, cannabis was again found effective for painful joints.  Adding to the oeuvre was more research on the positive effects of exercise, acupuncture, and chiropracty for arthritis. 

On the downside of Googles research data?  Acetaminophen is not getting any less liver toxic, and knee replacements arent getting cheaper or less temporary. 

Of course, for my mini-research study to carry any weight in mainstream medicine, I may have to repeat the same analysis for 200 days at random over a period of seven years, and probably include a placebo group although Im not sure how that would be done.  

Contrary to the thinking of those who require a high level of what is termed evidence-based research to make a recommendation, there are no double-blind, placebo-controlled studies on the efficacy of parachutes to promote life for skydivers.  Nor are a number of other therapeutic modalities commonly used in conventional medicine supported by randomized, controlled trials. 

In the joint care category, we can see and feel the effects of life-saving (or at least drastically life-improving) non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, which dont cause liver damage, such as turmeric and boswellia.  And that, for many millions of people (including numerous scientists, physicians, journalists and Googlers), is more than enough. 

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