FlexPro MD, a multi-ingredient supplement designed to combat inflammation, is well tolerated and effective in reducing joint pain and improving physical function in patients with mild osteoarthritis, according to a recent study.
“This 12-week intervention trial demonstrated that intake of FP-MD, a unique formulation of three synergistic ingredients (e.g., omega-3 fatty acids (EPA/DHA), astaxanthin, and lower molecular weight hyaluronic acid), can provide joint health benefits,” the study authors wrote. “Although degenerative arthritis may have different specific causes and biological mechanisms, inflammation is a common feature of many forms of arthritis, and reduction in the pain caused by arthritis is an important part of arthritis treatment success.”
The research, published in the journal Nutrients, was funded by Korean contract manufacturer Novarex in partnership with Eustis, FL-based supplier Valensa International, which provided the FlexPro MD ingredients.
The synergy of FlexPro MD
This latest research built on previous in vivo studies examining how FlexPro MD works at a cellular level to downregulate the inflammatory cascade in joints, reduce cartilage damage and address pain.
It also confirmed the safety and efficacy findings of an earlier human clinical study that indicated that FlexPro MD was three times more effective than the popular glucosamine/chondroitin joint health supplement on the market.
“This new study went further through a clinical examination of the experiential benefit of using FlexPro MD with validated clinical assessments and understanding how people felt FlexPro MD addressed their joint issues, stiffness, and pain,” Stephen Hill, VP of product development, quality, and regulatory at Valensa, told NutraIngredients-USA.
The research team attributed the potential benefits to the synergistic effect of the product’s anti-inflammatory ingredients. These include Euphausia superba Antarctic krill oil (Superba, Aker BioMarine), natural astaxanthin (Zanthin, Valensa International).
“Except for clinical trials confirming the synergistic effects of a blend of chondroitin, glucosamine, and MSM—representative of natural supplements for degenerative arthritis—no clinical trials of more than three compounds have been identified,” the researchers noted. “This highlights the need for further research on the synergistic effects of multiple compounds.”
The multicenter, double-blind clinical trial recruited 93 Korean men and women between the ages of 30 and 75 years with mild osteoarthritis of the knee or hip joint and randomly assigned them to receive either a 600 mg FlexPro-MD soft gel or a placebo once a day for 12 weeks. The primary endpoint was joint pain score as evaluated by the Korean Visual Analog Scale (K-VAS) and the Korean Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (K-WOMAC).
Hill, who also served as lead author on the study, highlighted that the FlexPro MD formula showed benefits not only for pain but also stiffness and physical function scores in this population, with participants in the FlexPro MD group reporting a 42% reduction in pain and 38% reduction in joint stiffness.
“As we age, joint pain may become more acute, particularly if we are living our best life,” he added. “FlexPro MD is specifically formulated to address these issues.”
He shared that future near-term research would focus on extending delivery options beyond soft gels to other product formats such as gummies and beverages to increase accessibility. Valensa also plans to investigate the long-term effects of a consistent reduction in joint stiffness and pain on the improvement of joint, muscle and bone health as well as quality of life.
Eye on Asia-Pacific market
Valensa introduced FlexPro MD to the U.S. market a decade ago and entered the South Korean market earlier this year.
“Since South Korea has a strong market for effective, clinically supported food supplements, we knew it would be the perfect fit as we aim to provide effective solutions for joint pain relief to more individuals,” Hill explained. “The regulatory approval process for functional health foods has high standards but allows effective, science-based products, like FlexPro MD, to stand out.”
He added that based on the current success in the South Korean market, Valensa is currently exploring options to further expansion into the Asia-Pacific region, which accounts for more than half of the world’s population.
“We are looking at other countries where the population demographics show a strong need for joint relief products and regulatory standards that provide for a market of safe and quality products,” he said.
“A Multicenter, Randomized, Double-Blinded, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial to Evaluate the Efficacy and Safety of a Krill Oil, Astaxanthin, and Oral Hyaluronic Acit Complex on Joint Health in People with Mild Osteoarthritis“
Authors: W. Stephen Hill et al.