Does MegaRed Joint Care Relieve Joint Pain?

People with osteoarthritis often turn to dietary supplements to relieve pain and make their joints stronger and healthier. One popular option is MegaRed Superior Joint Care, a product made by Schiff Vitamins that is a combination of several ingredients that may help ease symptoms of arthritis.

If you're thinking of adding a dietary supplement to your own daily regimen for treating joint degeneration and pain due to osteoarthritis, here are some things to consider.

Woman with joint pain
Jose Luis Pelaez Inc / Getty Images

Three Ingredients vs. One Disease

There are three active ingredients in MegaRed Superior Joint Care: a proprietary blend of krill oil, hyaluronic acid, and astaxanthin.

Here is how each of these substances may help to treat osteoarthritis.

  • Krill oil comes from tiny crustaceans called krill that exist in oceans all over the world. They're a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, the so-called "healthy" fats also found in cold-water fish, like salmon and sardines. Research has suggested that omega-3 fats can help lower the risk of osteoarthritis. Krill oil typically contains more of the omega-3 fat eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) than fish, which may give it an advantage over fish oil in arthritis treatments. One study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that a particular brand of krill oil reduced pain, stiffness, loss of function, and inflammation in people with arthritis.
  • Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance in the body that helps in keeping the skin moist. In the joints, ​​hyaluronic acid is a major component of the synovial fluid that lubricates and cushions them. Arthritis causes hyaluronic acid to break down, so replacing it might help in restoring joint health. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has conditionally approved injections of hyaluronic acid for treating arthritis of the knee. Targeted injections of a substance aren't the same as taking that substance by mouth, so it's unclear if hyaluronic acid taken orally as part of a mix of other ingredients will boost its levels in joints.
  • Astaxanthin is a carotenoid antioxidant found in seafood, such as shrimp and salmon that gives these foods a pinkish hue and has been studied for its potential to prevent atherosclerotic heart disease. It is also touted as a promising treatment for joint inflammation but there are inconclusive evidence for this claim.

Does MegaRed Superior Joint Care Ease Arthritis?

On its website, Schiff claims that just one soft gel per day of MegaRed Superior Joint Care is more effective than glucosamine and chondroitin for relieving sore joints, according to a 56-day randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study. However, it's important to note that this research was sponsored by the company and has not been published in a peer-reviewed, scientific journal.

Other claims about MegaRed Superior Joint Care are that it can take as few as seven days for someone to feel relief from sore, aching joints and that the full effect from the supplements takes about eight weeks.

It's important to note, though, that dietary supplements are considered alternative or complementary treatments, and so do not require FDA approval, as other drugs do. They can be marketed with little scientific research to back up their presumed effectiveness and safety. For that reason, you should always check with your doctor before taking any medication, even over-the-counter vitamins. Believe it or not, even something as innocuous and natural-sounding as a dietary supplement can interact with some prescription medications or be unsafe for certain people.

In fact, Schiff warns that folks with shellfish allergy, coagulopathy (clotting problems), or who take anticoagulants or other medications, as well as women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, should consult with their doctors before using MegaRed Superior Joint Care.

Thus, the bottom line is that although MegaRed Superior Joint Care may very well relieve pain and other symptoms of osteoarthritis, there's little clinical proof for these claims. If your doctor gives you the green light to try it, keep your expectations realistic: no supplement is a cure for osteoarthritis.

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