Joe and Teresa Graedon

Q: Our vet prescribed medication for our older dog with arthritis. This tablet contains New Zealand green-lipped mussels, and it seems to help her.

We started thinking it might help our arthritis too, if we could find people-grade supplements. We did and we’ve been taking them for about four months, and they’ve helped our pain significantly. Your readers might like to know.

I’ve tried several of the suggestions from your website, such as gin-soaked raisins, cherry juice and Certo. None of those made a difference.

Answer: Green-lipped mussels (Perna canaliculus) contain omega-3 fatty acids. The Maori of New Zealand have been eating these shellfish for centuries.

Studies in dogs, cats and horses suggest that extracts of the mussels can help alleviate joint pain (Veterinary Sciences, March 27, 2018). Human research using green-lipped mussel extracts have been less positive. One randomized controlled trial found no difference in pain or function between people taking GLM and those on placebo (BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Aug. 22, 2017).

Until there is better evidence to support the use of GLM, we would suggest that most people get their omega-3 fatty acids from fish. There is evidence to suggest that fish oil supplements may have anti-inflammatory activity (Journal of Clinical Rheumatology, September 2017).

Q: I recently read that some metformin pills are contaminated with a potential carcinogen. I would like to control my slightly elevated blood sugar levels naturally. Can you educate me on some natural approaches?

Answer: Valisure is the online pharmacy that tests all the medications it dispenses. It found that many batches of metformin contained the nitrosamine NDMA.

You can get your metformin tested for free by going to and clicking on “Test My Existing Medication.” You will need to sign up and order the Impurities Test. Use the coupon code METTEST. The company will send you a sample kit in which you can send back two metformin pills in the mail. Allow up to six weeks for results. Coupon availability is limited, and no samples from Virginia or Massachusetts can be accepted.

A variety of tactics can help control blood sugar. Cutting back on carbs is a good first step. Exercise can also be quite beneficial. Losing weight often makes a difference when it comes to diabetes management.

There is research supporting the use of cinnamon and herbs like bitter melon, fenugreek and nopal (prickly pear) cactus. No matter what your strategies, frequent blood glucose monitoring is essential for measuring success. Our Guide to Managing Diabetes is available online in the Health eGuide section of

Q: You wrote about soap and water vs hand sanitizers recently. A friend’s mother got C diff., maybe from taking an antibiotic for a UTI. When the nurse gave them directions for C diff. care, she said not to use liquid soaps, only bar soaps! Why would that be?

Answer: Keeping hands clean is crucial in avoiding infection. We wrote that hand sanitizer works well against bacteria. It is not as effective as soap and water against viruses (Journal of Food Protection, June 2016).

We were confused by the caution you mention about liquid hand soaps. But when we checked the medical literature, we found a report on bacterial contamination of liquid soap in a hospital ICU (Journal of Hospital Infection, May 2016). We suspect this is less relevant at home, where people buy individual containers of liquid soap and discard them when they are empty.

King Features Syndicate

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