Hyaluronic acid, or joint fluid, helps joints glide easily and smoothly and assists in nutrient delivery to joint tissues
"Based on considerable research and study of the oral delivery and absorption of HA commissioned by our company and published in the FASEB Journal, we have added joint fluid to our Move Free formula," said Dr. Luke Bucci, vice president of research for Schiff.
The 1500 milligrams glucosamine/1200 milligrams chondroitin blend in Move Free products is designed to support joint cartilage and maintain healthy joint function.
The company was also keen to note that all Move Free products were recently verified by the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) Dietary Supplement Verification Program for quality, purity and potency.
Last month, Weider Nutrition launched a new Schiff-branded joint care supplement that combines an antioxidant, hyaluronic acid and glucosamine for faster-acting relief.
The supplement, marketed as Lubriflex, is a triple action formula combining Uniflex, an antioxidant designed to protect cartilage and joints, HA and glucosamine.
However, not everybody is enthusiatic about the effect of glucosamine on joint health. A study by a group of researchers in Canada, published in October, suggested that glucosamine had no long-term beneficial effect.
Their study investigated whether the food supplement could prevent painful flare-ups in patients who had already been taking it for two years on average, with some signs of benefit.
The results showed that there was little difference with placebo: 42 percent of placebo patients experienced flare-ups in the six-month follow-up, compared with 45 percent in the glucosamine group.
In addition, subjects using glucosamine flared as quickly and as severely as those using a placebo, reported the researchers in Arthritis and Rheumatism (15;51(5), pp738-45).
Lead investigator Dr Jolanda Cibere, from the University of British Columbia, said: "Our study shows that even if the supplement was initially perceived by study participants to be helpful, it has no benefit for maintenance and continued use is not effective to control flare-ups".
However the supplement continues to see annual growth of around 10 percent in the joint health category, with consumption of between 4,000-6,000 tons annually.
A major US government-funded trial, called GAIT, investigating at a cost of $14 million the efficacy of glucosamine and chondroitin as natural remedies for osteoarthritis, may help to clear up some of the confusion when it releases results next year.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), arthritis and other rheumatic conditions are among the most common chronic diseases, affecting 70 million adults in the US in 2001, and are the leading cause of disability among US adults.
Research by the CDC has shown that if arthritis prevalence rates remain stable, the number of affected persons aged 65 and under will nearly double by 2030, meaning that as many as 41 million people in this age group could be afflicted by arthritis or chronic joint symptoms (CJS).