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posted: 7/29/2013 5:45 AM

Your health: Easing arthritis pain

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  • Certain over-the-counter dietary supplements may or may not help arthritis pain.

    Certain over-the-counter dietary supplements may or may not help arthritis pain.


Arthritis alternatives

Some people swear that over-the-counter dietary supplements called glucosamine and chondroitin ease arthritis pain, reduce stiffness and protect joints from further damage. Others say they don't help, says Harvard Medical School.

A major study of glucosamine and chondroitin published in The New England Journal of Medicine concluded that how much relief a person gets depends on how severe his or her arthritis pain is to begin with.

Among 1,500 participants with knee osteoarthritis, glucosamine and chondroitin taken alone or together provided no more relief than a placebo. Those with mild pain did not see much benefit. People with more severe pain experienced modest relief with the combination of glucosamine and chondroitin.

If you're wondering whether glucosamine and chondroitin might work for you, the answer is "it depends." If your osteoarthritis pain is moderate or significant, try taking both glucosamine and chondroitin for two to three months. If you find they ease your pain, it's reasonable to keep using them. If not, save your money.

DVD workout

If you're bored with your home workout, a new exercise DVD promises to blast fat and burn calories through short workouts that can be scaled to all fitness levels, according to The Washington Post.

"Total Cardio Burn" features fitness trainer Caroline Pearce, who also stars in the British television program "Gladiators."

It includes three 20-minute workouts of increasing intensity. All three focus on circuit training, combining cardio with strength moves using body weight and light dumbbells.

All about magnesium

Your body needs magnesium for many tasks. It's involved in more than 300 chemical reactions in the body. Muscles need this mineral to contract, nerves need it to send and receive messages. It keeps your heart beating steadily and your immune system strong, says Harvard Medical School.

Most people get enough magnesium from foods such as green leafy vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and fish.

Magnesium supplements are sometimes marketed as super pills that can fix a long list of ailments such as muscle tension, low energy and trouble sleeping. But think twice about a supplement.

According to the National Institutes of Health, most older adults in the United States don't get the proper amount of magnesium in their diets. But Dr. Bruce Bistrian, chief of clinical nutrition at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, says magnesium deficiency is very rare.

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