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  • -Zinaxin Challenged-
    Special Report
    Jamieson's Arthrimin GS with Zinaxin

    When the label says:

    "Botanical Medicine for Inflammatory Joint Pain"

    "Natural COX-2 and 5-LOX inhibitor"

    Who do you trust?

    Apparently Jamieson Laboratories, a nutraceutical company from Windsor, Ontario may be in trouble with Health Canada. The Windsor Star recently did a story on one of their products called Arthrimin GS with Zinaxin.

    Windsor Star, page A3 of Saturday's paper, May 25, 2002.

    By Corinne Aeschelmann
    Star Staff Reporter

    Ginger is the key ingredient in a treatment for arthritis now on the shelves of Canadian drug stores.

    Windsor-based Jamieson Laboratories announced Friday it is the first Canadian manufacturer of Zinaxin, a ginger extract that's been used worldwide to reduce arthritis pain.

    The notice came on the heels of Thursday's Health Canada alert that two top-selling prescription arthritis drugs, Celebrex and Vioxx, are not as safe as consumers have been led to believe. Known as "super-aspirins", both can cause ulcers and Vioxx is linked to stomach bleeding and inflammatory disease of the bowel, the advisory warned.

    But a spokeswoman for Jamieson called the timing of their unveiling of the extract "a coincidence" and said they hadn't planned to take advantage of the bad press the other drugs had received.

    Health Canada spokesman Ryan Baker said he'd never heard of Zinaxin, and later found it had not been approved for sale by the department.

    "This is something that Health Canada is going to look into," Baker said. A natural health product requires Health Canada approval if the manufacturer makes claims about the product's health benefits, Baker said.

    Zinaxin, sold under Jamieson's Arthrimin label, has been available over the counter at drug and health food stores the last several weeks, said company spokeswoman Carolyn Finlayson. It sells for about $23 a box.

    A study of 247 arthritis sufferers at Miami University Hospital found the pills reduced pain in 65 per cent of them, although some complained of side effects, including gastrointestinal problems and nausea.

    Most of these resulted from the taste of the ginger and were not serious, said Dr. Roy Altman, the hospital's chief rheumatologist who conducted the study. No warning has been placed on the label.

    The test didn't compare Zinaxin's effectiveness with that of Celebrex or Vioxx, but Altman said he did look at similar prescription drugs and found Zinaxin performed equally well.

    "If you looked at just the raw numbers, it's pretty close,"he said. However the tests only looked at the effects of the remedy on osteoarthritis. It is not known how the extract works on other forms of the disease, including the more severe rheumatoid arthritis.

    Altman also noted a more extensive study is necessary to determine if Zinaxin can be taken as a substitute for prescribed arthritis medication.

    Baker said people who take herbal remedies, which fall under Canada's Food and Drug Act, should let their doctors know what they are taking and not assume natural means safe.

    "Just because they're natural does not mean that they don't carry with them a certain amount of risk", he said.

    Jamieson Laboratories claims unproved

    If you believe Jamieson, just go to their own web site and see how they boost your confidence.

    Jamieson Laboratories Products Page - Just click on the Arthrimin link and read the text that says:
    Arthrimin GS - Zinaxin

    A botanical medicine derived from a highly concentrated patented standardized extract of two special types of ginger that helps alleviate pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.

    Serving Size: 1 capsule Quantity: 60 gel capsules Supplement Facts

    Each capsule contains: Ginger Extract 255mg (Zinaxin Ev.Ext 77 standardized equivalent to 3,500mg dried ginger). Benefits

    Clinically proven to promote joint health and long-term pain resistance. With no adverse side effects.

    Special Alert

    If Zinaxin is sold in Canada, by Jamieson or anyone else, we need to know. If you find it, ask the pharmacist if they have been contacted by Health Canada about it. There may be copycat products that contain ginger extracts, and they may also make unsubstantiated claims. Zinaxin is a natural product that is basically a mixture of ginger extracts. If the pharmacist hasn't a clue what you are talking about, send them to this web site.

    All sorts of claims have been made by manufacturers and the occasional researcher for ginger over the last four years. As far as I can tell, no recognized rheumatology group, arthritis society or association in North America has supported those claims.

    If you find the Jamieson product for sale in Canada, let us know. If you see it advertised in pharmacy, or health food store flyers, save the ad and send them to us with the exact date, and source of the ad. Since Jamieson is most likely to challenge Health Canada about their claims, I think that all they have to do is to read the box. They are making health claims, and they can't.

    Terry Polevoy, MD

    P.S. Pay attention to AM radio stations like CFRB in Toronto, or the usual stations that do infomercials, just in case they feature this product.

    Jamieson Advertising continues

    Critique of Zinaxin studies and claims

    I don't know about you, but is 6 weeks, or 5 months a "long-term" in the life of someone with osteoarthritis. There hasn't been a single study yet published that has lasted beyond 6 months.

    What about people who have rheumatoid arthritis. The Jamieson web page says nothing about those folks. As far as I am concerned, this alone is false and misleading advertising.

    Does Health Canada TPD database list it? - This is an entire list of Jamieson products that were on the HC TPD database on May 24, 2002. I don't see Arthrimin GS or Zinaxin listed.

    Here is a Canada Newswire press release from May 24, 2002 that announces that "Zinaxin" folks are alive and well, and they are getting help from a rent-a-doc-a-day professor from Miami. I guess Jamieson doesn't care who promotes their stuff up here. They couldn't get a Canadian doctor of medicine to help them, because that doctor may be censured by the College of Physicians for flogging natural remedies.


    What I found about ginger products for arthritis is summarized below:

      1. Ginger can increase NSAID side effects and effects of blood-thinning drugs and herbs.
      2. There are only a few studies on osteoarthritis and ginger, and I could not find any wide support for the use of ginger except in one study done by Dr. Altman, and a few from MLM web sites...see below.
      3. This is not a new product at all. It's been around for at least 3 years.
      4. http://www.eurovita.com/press/index.html - Go to the original web site of Eurovita for Zinaxin, and you will find Dr. Altman's study in their news section. They claimed on that page that it helped 2/3 of patients.

      The main problem with the Altman study is that it followed patients over a six week period. The press release was on the same page as the annoucement of a meeting in November 2001. I would think that a serious, and chronic disease like osteoarthritis would have to undergo a much more rigorous scientific study than this in order to make any claims for efficacy and safety.

      5. Freelife.com is MLM and it uses Zinaxin. - It's MLM folks - that's right. You can join in the fun and make lots of money if you live in the U.S. Just click on the link and see all of the lovely testimonials for Zinaxin.

      6. Read all about it here, too.

      7.This is their research page. You judge for yourself if a few weeks or a few months on Zinaxin is enough to convince you that this stuff works.

      8. Why it's really Earl Mindell, of Vitamin Bible fame

      9. What about Carl Lewis?

      10. If you want to make big bucks, click on this link.

      11. The Freelife products were at booth #43 at a recent Whole Life Expo in Toronto. Did Health Canada know that?

      Does Dr. Roy Altman know that his research is being used to sell MLM nutraceuticals? Is the MLM company doing business in Canada?

      Dr. Roy Altman's phone in Miami is (305) 243-5735
      Roy Altman's e-mail address

      Canadian medical doctors can not endorse products. Why in the world is an American rheumatologist touring up here? Who paid for his visit?

      Why didn't they get one of their naturopaths to do the testimonial?

      Did Jamieson pay for his trip up to Toronto, and was this disclosed at the press conference?

      If Zinaxin has been around for four years, don't you think that Jamieson or the manufacturer in Europe would have had time to apply for an IND?

      Oh, I forgot, it's a nutraceutical. Let's dance around the open pit fire, and smash rocks on our heads to take our mind off reality here.

      What in the world does Jamieson take us for? Natural doesn't mean it works folks.

      The Canadian public must be a bunch of idiots. We'd believe anything that has a fancy label, and comes from a company that has established itself as a premier nutraceutical distributor in Canada. It doesn't matter if there is little scientific validity to the claims.

      I surely hope that Health Canada will finally make up their mind whether or not they are going to protect the public. It sounds to me that Mr. Baker is headed in the right direction, but don't count on Health Canada to do anything to stop the charades perpetrated by the natural health brigades on this side of the Detroit River.


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