Are you currently taking oral glucosamine and experiencing gastric irritation, nausea, shortness of breath or wheezing?
Have you purchased creams or patches to soothe your aching muscles but find that they don’t actually provide relief?
Are joint pains and body aches stopping you from leading an active lifestyle or going back to work after retirement because of knee problems?
Firstly, Glucosamine is a good biological molecule produced naturally in your body and used to make soft tissues such as cartilage, ligament, collagen and synovial fluid for the body. However, Glucosamine is difficult to deliver to the body (unlike most health supplements) because of low absorption in the gastric system. Glucosamine compounds are also acidic and can cause gastric irritations and ulceration.
And secondly, many of the off-the-counter products claiming to provide pain relief tend to put menthol or capsaicin to provide the “cooling” or “warm” sensation that makes you THINK the product is “working”. This is largely a temporary placebo sensation that may not give you any real benefit.
I’ve done an interview with URAH scientist, Dr Jonathan Obaje, and found that the company focuses research on degenerative diseases because they believe immobility is the root of many chronic diseases. URAH therefore makes products which help to keep people “mobile” and enjoy ‘active’ lifestyles again.
Confident that the technology is capable of moving into the international arena, MP Inderjit Singh came on board as the Chairman of URAH, and with more investors joining, I’m excited about the upcoming new products which will help more people regain their mobility and lead pain-free lives. :)
But first, here is the current URAH product range. The brand has been around since 2009. I’m using the Sporting Cream because I do sometimes injure my knees from running:
Sporting Cream: Is designed for active folks, both young and old. It is very good for sprains and body aches you experience after exercising.
Joint Health: Is recommended for those above age 45. In addition to relieving the pains, it also helps people who experience numbness by improving their blood circulation.
Bone Health: Is a “Double Barrel” cream useful for both osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. It helps to increase bone density by about 10% after 7 to 8 months of usage.
Odourless and non-greasy, these creams provide quick relief for everything from neck pains and backaches to pain in the fingers and wrists from typing too much – what bloggers like me, and office workers, tend to face.
URAH products are available at Unity, Watsons and Guardian stores. Check in-store for the latest promotions. :)
1) Dr Obaje, why are there so many conflicting reports about Glucosamine therapy, with some articles saying it works and others saying it doesn’t?
The current misunderstanding and misinformation about Glucosamine is linked to the historical development of Glucosamine as a therapeutic agent. The first group of scientists who studied the therapeutic application of Glucosamine were biochemists (in Sweden 1950s). They tested Glucosamine on biological cells in test tubes and they discovered that the cells grew better when Glucosamine was added. They repeated the experiment and confirmed that Glucosamine indeed enhanced the growth of chondrocyte (cartilage) cells. They published their research findings in 1958 in a scientific journal. Then a pharmaceutical company in Europe saw the article and thought that Glucosamine would be a good drug for people suffering from arthritis and joint pain so they began to manufacture and market Glucosamine capsules, tablets and even powders. This assumption was later discovered to be naive as Glucosamine has low absorption in the gastric and may also cause gastric acidity.
In the 1980s, the European company went to USA to register their product with FDA. FDA refused to register their Glucosamine product as a drug because according to the scientific understanding of Glucosamine, our bodies produce it naturally to make proteins (proteoglycans) used for making soft tissues. Since Glucosamine is naturally produced in our body, it does not qualify as a drug, and should be classified as a health supplement because it supplements what your body already has. This was good news for the company because no rigorous clinical trials were required and the product could be sold straightaway in the US market.
Unfortunately, due to the loose regulation of Health supplements, many more pharmaceutical companies jumped onto the bandwagon to manufacture and sell Glucosamine tablets and capsules in the US market.
By 1990s, almost every pharmaceutical company in USA had its own Glucosamine brand, choking up the market. Patients would read about Glucosamine on websites and even went to hospitals to ask for Glusosamine prescriptions from their doctors.
But doctors and pharmacists, who were never taught about Glucosamine from the universities, were embarrassed to be educated by patients about the benefits of Glucosamine. Doctors and pharmacists began to complain to FDA about the lack of research done as to whether swallowing this Glucosamine stuff has any benefit at all.
In 2000, one of the US authorities agreed to sponsor an oral Glucosamine clinical trial. There were two groups of participants – one ‘active’ group swallowing Glucosamine tablets, and another ‘placebo’ group. This took about 3 years. The results were collated and analyzed at the end of the clinical trial. It was shocking to find that there was no difference between the active and the placebo group. This was a real blow to Glucosamine therapy. The full result was published in a very reputable journal in the US in 2006 (The New England Journal of Medicine Vol.354 No.8 Feb 2006). Their conclusion was that whether you take Glucosamine alone or combined with Chondroitin, it has no significant effect.
URAH’s research team was curious to know why Glucosamine is effective on the cells in the test tube but not effective when humans swallow it. Research began to show that there is little absorption of Glucosamine in the gastric system. When swallowed, not much of it gets absorbed into blood circulation. The second problem is that Glucosamine compounds are acidic and can cause gastric irritation. Many people are suffering gastric problems from Glucosamine but they don’t know about it. Some people, after taking the usual 1500mg Glucosamine tablets in the morning, ignorantly top it up with a cup of coffee too (adding on to the acidity levels)! The gastric side effect will not take long to show up.
2) So if Glucosamine is applied in the form of a cream, it is fine?
Initially, Urah Scientists thought topical application of Glucosamine will solve these issues BUT later discovered it is difficult to formulate Glucosamine into creams because Glucosamine makes the creams separate into two layers of water and oil. This is why some of the products in the market come with a “shake before use” label, because they don’t have the technology to blend Glucosamine into cream form.
Some other companies add very little Glucosamine into the cream and they don’t state the exact amounts on the packaging. You will not see any effect from using those creams because the concentration of active Glucosamine is too low. The onus is on the consumer to choose the right product. As mentioned already, health supplements are not regulated like drugs.
The second problem of making Glucosamine cream is the skin penetration. Some brands of Glucosamine Cream which claim to have high concentration of Glucosamine do not have the technology to deliver Glucosamine across the skin layers. When you rub the cream on your skin, after 8 to 10 minutes of application, if you rub the spot again pressing a bit harder, you will notice Glucosamine powder rubbing off from your skin like powdery residue because the skin is an excretory organ and not meant to take in stuff.
Our skin is a natural barrier for taking in any drugs. In fact, what good cosmetics do is “window-dressing” of the top coat of skin to be radiant by moisturizing them for some hours. The dead cells on your skin are just going to be washed away in a few days and cosmetic products do not go past the skin layers! No matter how good your cosmetic product is, if you stop using it for one month, you may not like what you see. That’s the difference between cosmetic and transdermal products – the latter goes through the skin and into the blood circulation.
It took URAH Research scientists many years of research to come up with the Micellar Delivery Technology which is able to “deceive” the skin into “opening up” and taking in Glucosamine for delivery into the blood circulation. That is what makes URAH unique and different from all the other Glucosamine products in the market. URAH’s special technology delivers Glucosamine right to where it needs to be. And Urah formulation is based on patented Urah technology in Japan, USA and Singapore.
In 2009, we voluntarily performed clinical research, and worked with about 20 clinics in Singapore. Patients diagnosed with arthritis volunteered to use URAH products for 8 weeks each. Two of the doctors were so impressed with the results that they agreed to collate the results together and publish it in a scientific journal in 2011. URAH is the 1st and still the only Transdermal Glucosamine product with a technology patent number, and has also done clinical research and published the findings on the efficacy of the products.
3) So why do people buy those other products?
As a scientific research company, we rarely do advertisements. You can usually find us in the laboratories. While other companies focus on big advertising, we are more focused on giving scientific results and education to the Doctors and Pharmacists about Glucosamine therapy.
Many products in the market which do not have technology to deliver glucosamine add chemicals such as menthol or capsaisin to create the ‘warm’ or ‘cooling’ sensation. Many people think because they ‘feel’ it so the product must be working. We call it a ‘temporary placebo sensation’. URAH scientists decided not to add any of these. You won’t feel a warm or cooling sensation when you use Urah products but after a few days, you will notice that your pain is gone.
We need business people to take the product to the market. But so far, the product has been able to ‘sell itself’. People who use it recommend it to their friends and even doctors are beginning to support us by recommending Urah Creams to their patients. Urah products are now in most government hospitals and in all major pharmacies in Singapore.
4) Can URAH products be used on everyone?
Yes, young or old, you can use URAH products. The sporting cream is designed for people who are active. It is good for sprains and body aches you experience after exercising.
Joint Health is recommended for people above age 45. In addition to relieving the pains, it also helps people who experience numbness by improving their blood circulation.
Bone Health is a “Double Barrel” Cream useful for both osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. It helps to increase bone density by about 10% after 7 to 8 months of usage.
And did you know about the danger of swallowing calcium supplements?
Urah was the first to start talking abt this. Research has shown that people who swallow oral calcium supplements are at greater risk of cardiovascular diseases and kidney stones. Why? Because when you take oral calcium, it is quickly absorbed into your blood circulation and it stays there. It does not get taken up to make bone cells. Within the blood, calcification takes place and blocks arteries, leading to cardiovascular issues. Some get filtered out to the kidneys, forming kidney stones. This is well-researched and published in many journals.
Calcium is best absorbed from natural sources, from milk, etc, because it needs the presence of other vitamins and minerals to create the right environment for calcium to be used by the blood for bone cells. That’s why we came up with URAH Bio-Calcium + Glucosamine + vitamins – for their synergy – and delivered by our micellar technology.
We focus on degenerative diseases and on how to help people lead active lifestyles. The reason they cannot lead active lifestyles is due to joint pains and body aches. So it doesn’t matter how long you preach to them about exercise; they listen then they sit back because they already have knee pains. The government promotes active aging and encourages retirees to go back to work. But what if they cannot stand for even one hour due to knee pains? MOBILITY is key to a healthy life. Anything that hinders you from being mobile is dangerous to your health. Immobility is the root of a lot of chronic diseases so it is important to get people moving.
5) And how long should we use URAH products for?
Try to finish at least one tube in 1-2 weeks, depending on your condition. If the pain is due to wear-and-tear for a very long time, and you have been advised by your doctor to go for knee replacement surgery for example, then you need to use the products for an extended period of time because the cells need time to start repairing.
But if it is a sprain, or swelling, within one hour of application, you can feel the pain going down.
One of our customers did 2 X-rays, with the doctor advising him to go for knee replacement surgery. He used URAH for a year and he can now can climb stairs without problems, and has not had to go for surgery!
Our body naturally produces Glucosamine so continue to use the products for the purpose of replenishment and maintenance of your health.
Why do we feel pain in the first place? It’s because our body cannot make enough Glucosamine, and the soft tissues start wearing out. When your bones rub against each other, you’ll feel the pain. Use URAH and you rebuild those tissues, but once you stop, the natural process kicks in again. Even if you don’t have pain, don’t wait, use URAH as a lifestyle. Some ladies use URAH as a body lotion and they say it is because they have experienced pain previously that they don’t want to go back to the same situation again.
URAH products do not help just at the point where you rub it on. It goes into your blood circulation and helps your whole body recover. There are no side effects even if you apply the whole tube in one day.
6) How did you get interested in science / biochemistry?
As a child, I had no choice. Very early in my life, I couldn’t pass Arts subjects (e.g. History). But anything to do with Science, I could score an ‘A’ with very little effort. Therefore you can say I had no choice. :D
That’s how I developed my passion, and an interest in the history of Glucosamine. I had initially written it off because of the initial published research findings then I became more fascinated as we learnt more. I guess I’m naturally quite inquisitive. :)
~ SURVEY PLUS SPECIAL PROMOTION ~
Head over to URAH’s website for a special buy-2-get-2-free scheme: http://www.urah.com.sg/register_survey Purchase 2 tubes and URAH is happy to sponsor another 2 free tubes of URAH creams for you! :)
*If you are wondering why some products have 8% Glucosamine concentration and others, 10%, the 10% ones are for those who have arthritis AND are concerned about osteoporosis. If you don’t have osteoporosis concerns, then the 8% is good enough.
~ SEND IN YOUR QUESTIONS & TESTIMONIALS ~
If you have tried URAH products, or if you are going to purchase and try them, send me your testimonials (email gracewwg AT gmail DOT com) and URAH will send giftsets to those whose testimonials end up being featured! :D
Similarly, send in your questions for Dr Jonathan Obaje as well, and you just might win a prize too! *wink*