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Mislabeling of Some Joint Health Supplements with Glucosamine, Chondroitin, Boswellia, and MSM

Glucosamine, chondroitin, Boswellia, and MSM are popular dietary supplement ingredients for treating symptoms of osteoarthritis (worn joint cartilage). But some products don't contain listed ingredients, are contaminated with lead, or do not break apart properly, according recent analyses by ConsumerLab.com. In fact, 17% of 18 supplements for people selected for review failed testing, as did all four of the products for dogs and cats. Additional products which passed testing, including two for pets, were identified through ConsumerLab.com’s Quality Certification Program.

Twenty-nine percent of people who take multiple dietary supplements take a joint health supplement according to the latest ConsumerLab.com consumer survey. Sales of these supplements were approximately $900 million according to 2012 figures from Nutrition Business Journal. Clinical studies suggest that the combination of glucosamine and chondroitin can reduce moderate to severe knee pain due to osteoarthritis. Chondroitin may also significantly decrease pain due to osteoarthritis of the hands. Boswellia, sold as a proprietary extract such as 5-Loxin, has been shown to reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis, as well as ulcerative colitis. The evidence for MSM in treating osteoarthritis in people remains preliminary.

Among the 18 products for people selected by ConsumerLab.com only 15 met quality standards and labeling requirements. One product contained just 51.6% of the Boswellia promised on the label, based on its content of boswellic acids. Another product contained only 84.6% of its listed chondroitin sulfate and exceeded limits for lead in a daily serving. The tablets of a third product would not properly break apart to fully release its ingredients. Interestingly, two of the products which failed testing were also the most expensive products reviewed.

Among the products for dogs and cats, one contained just 16% of its listed amount of chondroitin. Two contained only 71% and 76%, respectively, of their listed glucosamine. And one product contained 35% more MSM than listed on its label.

The Product Review of Joint Supplements (for people) is available online and covers the following 33 supplements, including 14 approved through ConsumerLab.com's Quality Certification Program and one product similar to another that was approved:

= Bluebonnet Vegetarian Glucosamine MSM

= Cosamin DS

= CVS pharmacy Glucosamine Chondroitin Triple Strength with MSM

= DG Health Triple Strength Glucosamine Chondroitin with MSM

= Doctor's BEST Best MSM 1500

= DONA Crystalline Glucosamine Sulfate

= Dr. David Williams Joint CPR

= Elations Healthier Joints

= Finest Nutrition (Walgreens) Glucosamine Chondroitin

= Instaflex Joint Support

= Jarrow Formulas Glucosamine + Chondroitin + MSM

= Joint Juice On The Go!

= Kirkland Signature (Costco) Glucosamine HCl With MSM

= Life Extension ArthroMax Advanced With UC-II and ApresFlex

= Nature Made Triple Flex

= NOW Vegetarian Glucosamine & MSM

= Osteo Bi-Flex Joint Care

= Pure Encapsulations Glucosamine Chondroitin with MSM

= Puritan's Pride Triple Strength Joint Soother

= Schiff Move Free Total Joint Health

= Shaklee Joint Health Complex

= Simply Right (Sam's Club) Glucosamine Chondroitin + Vitamin D-3

= Solgar No. 7

= Source Naturals Chondroitin Sulfate

= Spring Valley (Walmart) Glucosamine Chondroitin Soft Chews

= TR CAPS TR Joint Plus Caps

= Twinlab Glucosamine Sulfate

= USANA Procosa

= Vitacost 5-Loxin

= Vitamin Shoppe Triple Strength Glucosamine Chondroitin with MSM

= Vitamin World Joint Soother

= Webber Naturals Glucosamine & Chondroitin Sulfate

= Whole Foods Glucosamine and Chondroitin

The Product Review of Joint Supplements for Dogs and Cats is available online in a separate report and covers the following six products, including two approved through ConsumerLab.com's Quality Certification Program:

= 1-800-PetMeds Super Pure Omega 3 for Dogs & Cats

= Cosequin DS Plus MSM for Dogs

= Cosequin Joint Health Supplement for Cats

= Joint Complete for Dogs & Cats

= Joint Max Triple Strength

= Liquid Health Naturals K9 Glucosamine

In addition to helping consumers find the best joint health supplements, the reports discuss the clinical evidence, dosing, different forms, and potential side effects of glucosamine, chondroitin, Boswellia, and MSM. Price comparisons are included to help consumers find high quality products at the lowest cost.

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