By: Ed Coghlan
Nutraceuticals are formulated nutritional supplements and herbal products that provide medical or health benefits. They are used by many people in pain, and there is a good reason why. They work.
Nutraceuticals have been shown to help reduce pain associated with different chronic pain conditions and diseases, including:
Osteoarthritis and Joint Pain
Among the most widely used and studied nutraceuticals for pain relief are glucosamine combined with chondroitin sulfate. The National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine’s website states that “Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate provide a statistically significant level of pain relief for 79% of people with moderate-to-severe knee pain due to osteoarthritis.”
According to Dr. Mark Stengler, a naturopathic medical expert and host of PBS’ “Natural Healing with Mark Stengler”, “the latest research shows you need the anti-inflammatory power of fish oil to complete the picture – because together, these two supplements are far more effective at reducing and even eliminating joint pain,” his website states.
In a clinical study on magnesium for the treatment of migraine headache, 41.6% of individuals taking a patient-specifically-dosed amount of magnesium showed a significant improvement. Doctors Christina Sun-Edelstein and Alexander Mauskop who authored the study wrote, “Patients often seek nutraceuticals for headache treatment after ﬁnding conventional therapies ineffective or limited by side effects.”
Rheumatoid Arthritis and Joint Pain
Another nutraceutical, capsaicin, is widely used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis to help relieve joint pain. How does it work?
According to eOrthopod.com, “Capsaicin contains an enzyme that gives chili its heat. Used as a cream rubbed over and around painful joints, it creates irritation of the skin. This, in turn, activates nerve fibers in the skin. The end result is to distract the brain-body from recognizing joint pain.”
Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALC) has been shown to be “efficacious in alleviating symptoms, particularly pain, and improves nerve fiber regeneration and vibration perception in patients with established diabetic neuropathy,” according to a 2005 study published in Diabetes Care.
Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy
According to the American Cancer Society, chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) may potentially be prevented with a regimen of Vitamin E – a powerful antioxidant, calcium and magnesium, and other supplements that may protect nerve cells from damage due to chemotherapy.
While nutritional supplements are not necessarily a front-line defense for profound chronic pain, they may offer benefits to overall health as well as help reduce pain. For those with moderate-to-severe pain, nutraceuticals may offer much more direct benefits.
Nutraceutical Regulation and Marketplace
Nutraceuticals are regulated differently in different countries. In the US, the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate nutritional supplements and the claims related to how they are marketed in the same way it does with pharmaceutical drugs. Nutraceuticals are regulated under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
They are marketed to promote a wide range of health benefits, such as:
- Pain relief
- Joint support
- Digestive health
- Urinary health
- Heart health
- Mental acuity
- Prostate health
The nutraceutical industry is projected to reach $250 billion dollars globally by 2018.
While there are several studies that support the use of nutraceuticals for specific pain conditions (a sampling appears above in this article), there may be nutraceuticals that can benefit people in pain that have not been studied as robustly. Before starting a regimen of nutraceuticals to reduce pain, consult your physician to ensure you do not experience unwanted side effects or interactions with medications.
(2) Readers Comments
November 12, 2012
October 08, 2012
September 12, 2012
July 23, 2012
June 26, 2019
Oh boy...Your right we hate to hear this. You know why people in pain
Doesn't the 1.5 billion is spent a year give credence to its possitive
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Saying there is a 'twist' is the worst type of spoile