Running enthusiasts are clearly health conscious and concerned with the condition of of their bodies–especially joint pain.  As the new “miracle drugs” glucosamine and chondroitin become popular because they may give some relief for  pain and improvement in joints, it is best to check to see if you really need this kind of supplement.

Do Joint Preserving Supplements Really Work?“Thousands of runners pop glucosamine and chondroitin. How much do the pills really help?

If I had a big wad of bills under my mattress and decided to invest it in something running-related, I wouldn’t buy stock in a shoe manufacturer, an energy-bar maker, or even a high-tech GPS company. I wouldn’t open my own specialty running store, design a new sock for runners, or organize a Rhythm & Blues Marathon in New Orleans.

Instead, I’d sink all my cash into glucosamine and chondroitin, two over-the-counter supplements reputed to battle osteoarthritis, especially knee pain. According to estimates, worldwide sales of pills containing glucosamine and/or chondroitin could reach $2 billion any day now. It’s a safe bet that the recent scare over the COX-2-inhibiting painkillers like Vioxx and Bextra has only accelerated supplement sales.

Runners talk, fuss, and worry about knee pain all the time, and when pain strikes, we often turn to glucosamine/chondroitin. A recent Internet poll at runnersworld.com showed that 94.5 percent of respondents said they had tried one of the supplements. What’s more, 79.8 percent reported that their symptoms “somewhat improved” or “greatly improved” after taking glucosamine and/or chondroitin. Less than one percent reported that “things got worse” with the supplements.”

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