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“Use Instaflex daily for happy, healthy, active lives.”
Advertisements would have you believe Instaflex is the perfect solution to “relieve stiff achy joints.” Featuring an “exclusive compound” of 8 key ingredients, Instaflex is purported to relieve joint pain, improve flexibility, and increase mobility within days of use.
Instaflex is generating a lot of discussion on online forums and product review sites, so I couldn’t help but be a little curious as to why this supplement was receiving so much attention. What makes Instaflex stand out among so many other joint supplements with the same ingredients?
I decided to dig a little deeper to find out.
What’s Inside the Bottle?
The first thing about Instaflex that stood out to me was the ingredient concentrations listed on the label. No proprietary blends with this formula – you know exactly what you’re getting and how much.
Glucosamine Sulfate. Glucosamine is commonly found in the fluid surrounding joints (synovial fluid). It is used to produce a wide variety of chemicals involved in building tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. Experts typically recommend 1500 mg of glucosamine daily to treat osteoarthritis, which is exactly how much glucosamine Instaflex provides per serving.
MSM. MSM is a bioavailable form of sulfur that may reduce inflammation and accelerate healing. Experts recommend taking 500 mg thrice daily (or 1500 mg total). Instaflex only offers 500 mg per serving, which may seem too small at first, but it also contains several additional ingredients for improving joint support to provide you with maximum benefits.
White Willow Bark . White willow acts a lot like aspirin, providing pain relief for headaches, muscle pain, and even arthritis. It contains the ingredient salicin, which is a natural analgesic and antipyretic (fever reducer). The recommended dosage for back pain is 120-240 mg salicin. Instaflex provides a 250 mg dose standardized for 15% salicin. This gives us approximately 37.5 mg salicin, which may be a bit small. However, given salicin’s risk for causing liver damage, it’s best not to take high dosages for an extended period of time.
Ginger Root. Ginger is popularly used as a digestive aid due to its abilities to treat various types of stomach problems such as motion sickness, morning sickness, gas, diarrhea, etc. It contains chemicals which may reduce nausea and inflammation. Animal studies suggest 500 mg significantly reduces prostaglandin-E2 release, a chemical which triggers inflammation . However, further studies are needed to validate claims toward treating joint pain.
Boswellia Serrata. Also known as Indian frankincense, boswellia serrata contains chemicals that may decrease inflammation. Experts recommend 100-350 mg daily of boswellia serrate for osteoarthritis, and Instaflex provides a safe, effective 125 mg dose.
Turmeric. Turmeric is popularly used in curry due to its warm flavor, but recent research suggests the chemicals in turmeric can decrease swelling and inflammation as well. It is often recommended to treat arthritis, heartburn, stomach pain, and similar symptoms in 500 mg dosages of turmeric taken 2-4 times daily. Instaflex contains a standardized turmeric extract 50 mg, providing 95% cumin to optimize anti-inflammatory effects.
Cayenne. Cayenne contains the chemical capsaicin which reduces pain. It is used for a wide variety of intestinal problems such as stomach pain, diarrhea, and cramps, though taking 11 mg capsaicin may relieve back pain. Instaflex contains 50 mg Cayenne, which is a safe concentration.
Hyaluronic Acid. Hyaluronic acid is unique in the fact that it can carry up to 1000 times its own weight in water. It attracts fluid and nutrients to the joints while providing cushion and protection against abrasion and damage. However, hyaluronic acid is commonly injected into joints to treat joint pain, not ingested. Additional research is needed to determine if oral hyaluronic acid will provide the same benefits.
Are These Ingredients Safe?
Many of the ingredients in Instaflex are safe to use and often found in other joint pain supplements. The ingredients are in clinically proven concentrations or in concentrations too small to present any serious concern.
Consumers should note that white willow has not been tested for long-term effects. Users may safely take it up to 12 weeks, but for extended periods of time, consumers will want to consult a doctor first.
Additionally, several ingredients may interact negatively with certain medications. White willow and Glucosamine, for example, interact negatively with Warfarin, a commonly prescribed blood thinner. If you are taking any form of medication, consult your doctor before using Instaflex.
Allergy Warning. Glucosamine is primarily harvested from shellfish. If you are allergic to shellfish or seafood, do not take Instaflex. Consult your doctor if you experience hives, nasal congestion, swelling, abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting.
Are These Ingredients Effective?
There is plenty of clinical evidence to suggest these ingredients work individually to relieve joint pain and reduce inflammation.
In fact, when the National Advertising Division (NAD) investigated Instaflex claims to “relieve and comfort joints, increase flexibility, lubricate for healthy fluid movement, and protect and enhance mobility” they found these claims were supported by scientific studies.
According to the report, “In this case, NAD found that the results of the advertiser’s glucosamine studies were in line with the GAIT studies. NAD determined that, because of the 1500 mg of glucosamine in the product, the advertiser had provided a reasonable basis for its product claims.” 
However, consumers should note there is no clinical information available on Instaflex’s exact ingredient combination. Most of the research available is on glucosamine chondroitin combinations, not all 8 Instaflex ingredients at once. If there are peer-reviewed clinical trials on Instaflex, I was unable to find them.
Consequently, I turned to anecdotal evidence to see what real consumers had to say about the product. Interestingly enough, the reviews were widely mixed. Either they loved the product or they hated it. There was very little middle ground.
Kevin D. Cotrell at Amazon.com wrote, “I am a retired Infantry soldier and an ex-paratrooper who has been plagued with knee problems since as long as I can remember and have had three different knee operations anterior crucent, left knee, and medial collateral ligament operations in both knees. I was very sceptical buying this product, it is very pricey and does not contain Chondroitin; which, supposedly works well with Glucosamine. However, this product is a lifesaver, after using it for more than two weeks I really have very little pain or discomfort even in upcoming storms; which, I do not miss being more accurate than our local weatherman. The price eventually needs to come down, but I hope to be running very soon and will continue to use this product.”
On the other hand, Doc Martin shared, “I suffer from constant joint pain in one of my hip joints due to traumatic injury from several falls. This has caused me to limp on that side. The limping has put extra strain on my lower lumbar inter-vertebral joints causing additional pain.
“I have been taking glucosamine and chondroitin supplements for several years with little to no pain relief. But, I keep taking them in hopes that it’s actually doing something. I recently decided to try Instaflex and have been on it for a month of three capsules per day. I don’t think that I will order another supply of it as I can’t tell that there has been any improvement whatsoever.
“I’m a retired Doctor of Chiropractic and am well versed in the treatment of joint pain. If Instaflex does anything at all it’s certainly no better than any other glucosamine supplement I have tried in the past. Several physicians have told me to buy the cheapest glucosamine available on the shelf as they are all basically the same. I had high hopes for the effects of Instaflex. It costs more… it must be better. But, there has been no dramatic effect in my personal use of the product.
“Therefore, I will give it a one-star rating. It’s pricey and doesn’t perform any better than other glucosamine supplements.”
How to Use Instaflex
Instaflex.com did not specify how to use Instaflex. Consequently, I had to turn to other distributors to see what I could find. At GNC.com, I found this helpful question and answer:
“Q. The label says to take three tablets daily but doesn’t specify whether to take all at once or one three times per day. Also, which way would be most effective for 24 hour relief?
“A. While you could take them all at once, to ensure that your body absorbs as much of the supplement as possible, it would be best to take one tablet three times a day. The relief from this supplement is more cumulative – if you took all 3 in the morning, you wouldn’t feel it “wear off” later that day, so taking the supplement at staggered times is simply an absorption issue. “
Additionally, it’s always best to participate in light regular exercise to maintain mobility as well as follow a healthy diet.
Instaflex is widely available through any number of online stores and sites – however, it can be a bit pricey, even if you shop around.
• Instaflex.com: $69.99
• GNC.com: $58.99
• Amazon.com: $58.25
• Drugstore.com: $68.99
• SwansonVitamins.com: $68.99
Be Cautious of the Trial
There are numerous websites offering free trial offers of Instaflex, which may sound appealing at first but come with an unpleasant hook. The trial lasts 14 days once you receive your order. However, if you don’t cancel within the 14 day trial period you are automatically signed up for an autoship program.
“If after your 14-day free trial you are certain that you love Instaflex, simply do nothing. Not until day 18 will you be shipped a fresh, one month supply of Instaflex and be subsequently billed the ultra low price of $69.99 plus $4.99 shipping and handling.”
Many consumers fail to read the fine print and are shocked to see the monthly charge of $70 a month plus shipping for a product they didn’t know they had signed up for.
Troy at ScambOok.com wrote, “ORDERED 14DAY FREE TRIAL RECEIVEDIT IN MAIL THEN I WAS CHARGED 74.98 ON 4-13-11 THEN AGAIN ON 5-16-11-74.98 AND OTHER 74.98 ON 6-13-11 I HAVE RECEIVED 2 BOTTLES OF THIS PRODUCT WHICH I DID NOT ORDER (4 BOTTLES IHAVEN’T GOT BUT WAS CHARGED FOR I CALLED INSTAFLEX THEY SAID I DIDN’T CANCEL OUT FROM ORDERING THERE WAS NOTHING TELLING ME TO DO SO THEY OFFERED ME ONE SHIPMENT TO SEND BACK THE 6/13/11 BOTTLES HOW DO I GET 224.94 PLUS SHIPPING CHARGES BACK??”
Is There a Guarantee?
Yes, Instaflex is backed with a guarantee.
According to the FAQ page at Instaflex.com, “Instaflex covers you for a full 30 days starting from the date the product was shipped to you. If you’re not 100% satisfied with your results, simply attain an RMA number from our Customer Service Department and send us back your unused portion for a full refund. Please note that shipping and handling charges are non-refundable.”
Who Makes Instaflex?
Instaflex is owned by Instaflex LLC and marketed by Direct Digital LLC. According to the Better Business Bureau, Instaflex LLC received an A- rating on a scale of A+ to F.
This looks pretty impressive at first, until you see the sheer number of consumer complaints filed against the company: 189 in the last 3 years.
Most of the complaints involved advertising and billing, though a few were about the product itself. While Instaflex LLC responded professionally to these filed complaints, I can’t help but think it reflects poorly on the product.
Pick it or Pitch it?
Instaflex sends off some mixed signals.
On one hand, it offers clinically proven ingredients in clinically proven amounts. There is plenty of research and anecdotal evidence to confirm its abilities to relieve joint pain and reduce inflammation.
On the other hand, Instaflex does not work for everyone, and many users who take Instaflex and similar joint supplements are on a fixed income. The trial offer looks nice, but then they cannot afford the $70 monthly charge.
Though Instaflex seems to offer good results, the cost outweighs the benefits. I’m sure there are more reliable solutions available without the hefty price tag.
 Badreldin et al. “Some phytochemical, pharmacological and toxicological properties of ginger (Zingiber oﬃcinale Roscoe): A review of recent research.” Food and Chemical Toxicology 46 (2008) 409–420. Available from: http://www.fcf.usp.br/Ensino/Graduacao/Disciplinas/Exclusivo/Inserir/Anexos/LinkAnexos/gengibre.pdf
 “NAD FINDS DIRECT DIGITAL CAN SUPPORT CERTAIN CLAIMS FOR INSTAFLEX, BASED ON PRODUCT’S GLUCOSAMINE CONTENT.” Available from: http://www.asrcreviews.org/2012/02/nad-finds-direct-digital-can-support-certain-claims-for-instaflex-based-on-products-glucosamine-content/