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JointFlex Review

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Promising powerful pain relief without a prescription, JointFlex is a topical cream designed to treat arthritis and joint pain.

According to the manufacturers, “one-third of JointFlex users had their pain gradually decrease to the point where it was completely or nearly completely eliminated!”

Supposedly JointFlex utilizes exclusive Fusome skin delivery technology and camphor to give you the relief you need when you need it most. As an added bonus, JointFlex offers “no burning sensation, no lingering medicine smell, and no greasy residue.”

Yet is a topical treatment strong enough to provide long-lasting relief?

What’s Inside the Cream?

Ingredients labels for creams and cosmetics can be confusing to read because more often than not they contain scientific looking chemicals that simply give it its creamy texture rather than contribute to its overall performance.

So let’s set the additives, moisturizers, and thickeners aside and see what’s left.

Active Ingredient:
Camphor. Camphor is a strong smelling compound chemically manufactured from turpentine oil. When applied to the skin, it stimulates nerve endings to relieve pain and itching. To relieve osteoarthritis, experts recommend applying a topical treatment that contains 32 mg/g camphor, 30 mg/g glucosamine sulfate and 50 mg/g chondroitin sulfate for up to 8 weeks. [1] However, we do not know how much of these ingredients are used in Joint Flex.

Inactive Ingredients:

Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis) Leaf Juice. Aloe vera can be applied to the skin to relieve itching, inflammation, and osteoarthritis. Some chemicals in aloe gel may increase circulation in the tiny blood vessels in the skin while killing bacteria.

Chondroitin Sulfate. Chondroitin is extracted from cow cartilage, and it contains the basic building blocks of cartilage. Chondroitin may slow joint degeneration.

Glucosamine Sulfate. Glucosamine is used to produce a variety of chemicals involved in building tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and synovial fluid (the thick fluid surrounding the joints). It provides cushion and protection against abrasion.

Peppermint Oil. This strong smelling ingredient can be applied to the skin to treat muscle pain, nerve pain, and joint conditions. However, there is no clear evidence how this might work.
Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E) Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant, eliminating free radicals and reducing oxidative stress on cells.

This cream breaks the mold of ordinary joint pain products. Typically speaking, glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are the key ingredients in most joint supplements as they provide the basic building blocks for rebuilding and repairing damaged cartilage.

However, since this is a topical treatment, and glucosamine and chondroitin won’t be adequately absorbed in the skin to provide the usual joint pain relief. Instead, JointFlex manufacturers claim these ingredients are “skin conditioning” agents. Interestingly enough, a few studies suggest glucosamine may have some beneficial effects on skin and skin cells. [2]

Clinical Research

JointFlex.com references an Australian study published in 2003. The study assesses the effects of a topical preparation of glucosamine and chondroitin on pain related to osteoarthritis of the knee. 63 patients were randomized to receive either a topical glucosamine and chondroitin preparation or a placebo, which they were then asked to use for 8 weeks.

The results? “Topical application of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate is effective in relieving the pain from OA of the knee and improvement is evident within 4 weeks.” [3]

While promising, the study was not conducted on JointFlex directly, a product with similar ingredients. Without knowing the exact concentrations involved in both JointFlex and the glucosamine/chondroitin study, we cannot compare the two.

However, I assume the formula concentrations are different, consequently assume the results in the study are different than the results JointFlex users will experience.

What is Fusome Technology?

One of the biggest claims JointFlex manufacturers make on their website is that it utilizes a unique “Fusome” technology to enhance absorption.

Being unfamiliar with Fusome, I decided to do a little research. For a patent-pending delivery system, there isn’t a lot of information available.
The closest description I could find was this:

“In most animal species, female and male gametes are produced within clusters of germ cells which share a common cytoplasm through cell-cell channels. In Drosophila ovaries, these cells synchronize their divisions and specialize one cell of the cluster as the future egg. Both processes are organized by a germline-specific organelle of communication called the Fusome. . . Novel results have now suggested several molecular mechanisms to explain how the Fusome synchronizes the divisions by controlling cell-cycle regulators and how it determines and polarizes the future egg by organizing the microtubule cytoskeleton.” [4]

So essentially, Fusomes open communication lines between cells.

This sounds fairly impressive, but I’m still uncertain as to how JointFlex is able to use Fusome technology to give you better results. Come to think of it, I’m completely baffled as to what ingredients or techniques they used to create this Fusome delivery system.

You’d think the manufacturers would be more than happy to explain their new patent-pending mechanism to add credibility to their product, but it seems as though they like to hide it behind scientific phrases:

I contacted customer service about it, but this was my reply:

“The FUSOME Deep Release system is a patent pending combination of the latest advancements in emulsification and skin penetration technology. Ingredients are quickly and safely delivered to the skin enhancing their inherent benefits.”

It pretty much repeated what was already on the website without going in-depth about how Joint Flex actually uses Fusome.

Is it Safe?

Unlike oral supplements, JointFlex can be applied directly to the skin, so there’s a decreased risk of experiencing negative side effects.

However, both camphor and aloe vera have been known to cause skin redness and irritation. To keep the risk of side effects down, try applying a small amount of joint flex to the back of your hand and waiting 24-48 hours. If no additional irritation occurs, you can apply it elsewhere.

Allergy Warning. Glucosamine is made from shellfish. Do not use Joint Flex if you are allergic to shellfish or seafood.

Additionally, aloe vera and camphor have been known to cause allergic reactions in a few individuals.

Please read the label carefully to make sure you are not allergic to any other ingredients in Joint Flex.

FDA Compliant?

On the JointFlex FAQ page, manufactures claim JointFlex to be an “FDA compliant non-prescription drug.” Many consumers mistakenly assume FDA compliance is the same as FDA approved, which it is not.

FDA compliance means the company follows FDA rules about packaging and labeling, and making sure the product does not contain any poisonous or harmful substances.

The FDA has not approved JointFlex, nor will JointFlex treat any disease or serious medical condition.

Recommended Usage

Clean, rinse, and dry skin prior to using JointFlex. Users can apply JointFlex generously to painful muscles and joints, gently massaging until the cream disappears.

For best results, use the product twice daily (once in the morning and once in the evening). You can use it more frequently if necessary, though use only as directed on the label.

It is important not to apply JointFlex to broken skin, as camphor has been known to cause poisoning.

It may take anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes before JointFlex will provide any results.

What About the Smell?

JointFlex manufacturers claim their product doesn’t produce a “lingering smell,” and consequently I assumed the peppermint oil was primarily used to cover up the smell of camphor.

However, consumer reviews suggest manufacturers failed in this regard.

Toots52 at Drugstore.com wrote, “It works quite well, but it really stinks!”

Freyja at Walgreens.com wrote, “Using this product is better than not using anything at all, but not by much. At best, it takes the edge off my pain but it doesn’t provide the kind of pain relief other products I’ve tried do. Also, the scent is overwhelming. I can’t use it at work because the smell is so strong and I’d be embarrassed of my co-workers’ reactions.”

Where to Buy JointFlex

JointFlex is available at JoinFlex.com for $15.95 plus shipping. However, it’s widely available at any number of stores and online sites.

• Amazon.com: $13.11
• Walgreens.com: $16.99
• Walmart.com: $13.98
• CVSPharmacy.com: $19.99
• SwansonVitamins.com: $13.67
• Drugstore.com: $14.99

Is It Guaranteed?

If you order from JointFlex.com, your order will be backed by a 100% guarantee. “If you’re not completely amazed with the results, just send the empty tube and the cash register receipt to us and we will mail you a full product refund.”

Return Address:
7 East Frederick Place,
Cedar Knolls, NJ 07927

To contact customer service, you can call this toll free number: 1-888-464-3336.

More About the Manufacturers

JointFlex is owned and marketed by Alterna LLC, a New Jersey based company that offers therapeutic and over-the-counter medicines.

According to the Better Business Bureau, Alterna LLC received an A+ rating on a scale of A+ to F. The company has only received one filed complaint in the last three years, and it promptly responded to the complaint.

However, JointFlex was originally developed by SmartScience Laboratories Inc. SmartScience Inc also received an A+ rating, but unlike Alterna, SmartScience Inc is BBB accredited.

“BBB has determined that SmartScience Laboratories, Inc. meets BBB accreditation standards, which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints. BBB Accredited Businesses pay a fee for accreditation review/monitoring and for support of BBB services to the public.”

Because JointFlex is backed with two highly rated companies, it would be easy to think it’d have a squeaky clean record.

However, SmartScience Laboratories Inc violated the FTC act. According to a complaint posted at FTC.gov, “The acts and practices of respondents as alleged in this complaint constitute unfair or deceptive acts or practices, and the making of false advertisements, in or affecting commerce in violation of Sections 5(a) and 12 of the Federal Trade Commission Act.” [5]

The claims have since been discontinued, but the history of dishonesty does reflect poorly on the product.

Final Thoughts

JointFlex doesn’t seem like a bad product, just an overhyped one. The ingredients offer temporary pain relief and many consumers have used it successfully. If you can tolerate the smell, it may be a good option for you.

However, I doubt JointFlex will offer long-lasting relief. Once you stop using the cream, the pain will probably come back.

Additionally, $15 or more for a 4 oz. tube is pretty expensive, especially if you apply generous amounts to your joints twice daily.

There are more affordable creams and supplements that offer fast acting relief, so be sure to shop around before making your final decision.

References

[1] “Camphor.” WebMD. Available from: http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-709-CAMPHOR.aspx?activeIngredientId=709&activeIngredientName=CAMPHOR

[2] Blissett D. “Glucosamine: an ingredient with skin and other benefits.” Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. 2006 Dec;5(4):309-15. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17716251

[3] Cohen M, Wolfe R, Mai T, Lewis D. “A randomized, double blind, placebo controlled trial of a topical cream containing glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, and camphor for osteoarthritis of the knee.” The Journal of Rheumatology. 2003 Mar;30(3):523-8. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12610812

[4] Huynh JR. “Fusome as a Cell-Cell Communication Channel of Drosophila Ovarian Cyst. In: Madame Curie Bioscience Database [Internet]”. Austin (TX): Landes Bioscience; 2000-. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK6300/

[5]Available from: http://www.ftc.gov/os/2000/08/smartsciencecomplaint.htm

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