The CDC estimates that 1 in 5 adults in the United States, or 46 million people, suffer from some form of arthritis, a group of diseases that includes osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout and lupus. Osteo Bi-Flex is a nutritional supplement that purportedly helps in renewing cartilage, lubricating the joints and supporting range of motion within the joints. A health care professional should be consulted before taking any nutritional supplement.
Osteo Bi-Flex is a combination of glucosamine and chondroitin/methylsulfonyl methane complex, along with collagen, hyaluronic acid and extract of Boswellia serrata. Glucosamine and chondroitin are naturally occurring substances within the body, both found in healthy cartilage. Glucosamine helps to build cartilage, while chondroitin absorbs water to keep cartilage healthy. According to MedlinePlus, there is some clinical evidence that supports the use of glucosamine for the treatment of mild to moderate osteoarthritis of the knee. The benefits include reduction of joint pain and increased joint flexibility. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, some studies have shown that chondroitin may be helpful in reducing joint pain and slowing the cartilage damage from osteoarthritis, particularly in those with moderate to severe osteoarthritis. An added benefit of taking Osteo Bi-Flex is that glucosamine can strengthen the nails. Osteo Bi-Flex must be taken for 2 to 4 months before it becomes effective.
There can be some side effects associated with taking Osteo Bi-Flex. Anyone with an allergy to sulfur or shellfish should not take Osteo Bi-Flex since glucosamine is made from the shells of crabs and shrimp. A severe allergic reaction can occur, producing hives, shortness of breath, and swelling of the mouth, tongue and throat. This is a life-threatening situation that requires immediate medical attention. According to Drugs.com, other side effects can include nausea, diarrhea, stomach pain, sensitivity to sunlight and headache. Osteo Bi-Flex should not be taken by women who are pregnant or lactating without first consulting their doctor. Glucosamine is excreted through the kidneys, so should not be taken by those with kidney disease. Osteo Bi-Flex is only recommended for adults.
There is some indication that the ingredients in Osteo Bi-Flex may increase blood sugar levels by interfering with insulin. However, according to MayoClinic.com, those studies have been inconclusive. Diabetics should check with their doctor before taking Osteo Bi-Flex. The chondroitin in this product is structurally similar to heparin, and so cannot be taken by those on blood thinners such as Warfarin. Osteo Bi-Flex should also be avoided by people with bleeding disorders. Any weight-loss supplement containing chitosan should be avoided, as it can block the absorption of chondroitin. The chondrotin in Osteo Bi-Flex may interact in a beneficial way with NSAIDs, allowing patients who take NSAIDs for osteoarthritis to take a lower doses. Patients should speak to a doctor about any other drug reactions before taking Osteo Bi-Flex.