Arthritis Supplements: Does Lead Come With That?

by Mary Haight on July 10, 2009

The NIght Pills - Year 2 - 33/365
Image by Amarand Agasi via Flickr

A recent lab report reveals that high amounts of lead have been found in some brands of the pet Chondroitin/Glucosamine supplement used to lessen osteoarthritic pain.* And to add to this insult the Chondroitin found in many brands has seen reductions to levels that will provide no relief for Max or Mimi. The product-based subterfuge appears to be never-ending.

Pet supplements are not subject to the same ingredients or quality standards that ostensibly cover, however loosely, human supplements. That said, human supplements are not really under anyones watchful eye, either. That does not excuse consumer fraud when the listing on the label is not evidenced by the contents in the bottle. According to Consumer Lab, “Four of the six joint supplements for animals tested by lacked the amounts of glucosamine or chondroitin promised on their labels or had other flaws, such as lead. Wider testing by a trade group of 87 brands found that one-quarter fell short.”

“There is and there always has been” a quality problem[with supplements], although many companies do a good job, said Mark Blumenthal of the American Botanical Council, which tracks research on herbal products.

According to government estimates, up to one-third of house pets in the U.S. are given supplements. Nearly $1 billion a year is spent on supplements in the United States, nearly doubling since 2003 according to the Nutrition Business.  For more, see AP’s Marilyn Marchione thorough report.

You should not be forced to pay for this information (a subscription is needed to get brand name results), so call your Vet to see if she can provide you with the list, or perhaps a vet nutritionist colleague.

*[For decades it has been argued that osteoarthritis, the most common type of its kind, can benefit from these two building blocks of cartilage, although there is no proof of this in test results. Even so, studies do show a reduction in pain, which makes Glucosamine Chondroitin and MSM supplements better than alternatives that carry high-risk side effects.]

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