Today, the headline for one of the articles reads “Pilot Study for Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia to Begin.” Naturally, I clicked on the article, curious about the study. Turns out it’s about a substance called CMO, and the article starts out with a testimonial from a woman who suffers from fibromyalgia.
“Now, after hearing from her neighbor about a treatment called Liquid CMO, she says things have changed. ‘Being able to go play ball with my kids and go back to college. I would recommend it to anyone that’s going through the pain and suffering that I have gone through,’ said Vicki.”
Note that Vicky doesn’t say that she’s actually taken Liquid CMO, though the quote certainly inplies that she has. It also implies that the product has relieved her fibromyalgia symptoms.
The link takes you to a website which sells the product Liquid CMO. One bottle (the size of the bottle isn’t specified) costs $92 for a 16-day supply.
Once I caught my breath, I did a little more research on this wondrous stuff.
“CMO” is short for cetyl myristoleate, which, according to a Wikipedia article (clearly written by someone who wants to make it appear legitimately effective) is the cetyl ester of myristoleic acid, a naturally occurring, animal-based fatty acid.
Further searching revealed that CMO is supposed to work by “lubricating” the joints, and can be taken orally or rubbed into the skin over the affected joint as a cream.
A quick Google search for cetyl myristoleate brings up hundreds of websites pitching supplements containing CMO for relief of osteoarthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, gout, psoriasis, leukemia, emphysema and fibromyalgia. Rheumatoid arthritis hasn’t quite made the list, I guess, except for the Liquid CMO company’s list. And, while its use in osteoarthritis been shown to be moderately effective, the studies have been quite small. Results of studies regarding CMO’s effectiveness in relieving the rest of the list of ailments are inconclusive.
I don’t have anything against taking natural or herbal supplements for RA or any other disease. Shoot, on my PCP’s advice, I took grape seed extract for a couple of years to relieve the hot flashes I experienced as a result of menopause. Did it work? I don’t know, because at the same time, I also cut back, drastically, the amount of caffeine I was drinking each day. She felt that caffeine could have been making them worse. My hot flashes did become less in number and intensity after a few weeks of taking the grape seed extract and drinking a lot less coffee and tea, and they remain that way today, even though I no longer take the grape seed extract. I’ve kept my consumption of caffeine to a minimum, though.
For the record, I took glucosamine and chondroitin for nearly a year, hoping to relieve RA pain and inflammation. They had no effect. Same for copper bracelets. I’ve also tried various creams and rubs with capsaicin in them. They caused my skin to feel as if it was burning, which (ow, ow, ow!) certainly distracted me from my joint pain, but they did not relieve it. I hated the burning sensation and decided they’re not for me.
My feeling is that if you want to take a natural supplement for your RA, do it, as long as you’re careful and do a little research first. Not all supplements are without side effects, some of which can be serious. Only one of the websites I found had any warning about CMO side effects: those wishing to take it should discuss it with their doctors; pregnant and nursing women should avoid it; and that people with liver problems should also avoid it.
But most of the websites I found said CMO had no side effects and that it’s completely safe. I’d like to point out, however, that in the pilot study article, the naturopathic doctor who will conduct the RA/fibromalgia and CMO Liquid study, and who, in the article, encourages readers to take the product now, before he’s even done the study, mentions flu-like side effects:
“Dr. Arneson says CMO alleviates symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. [He says this prior to doing his study and in spite of studies that say it’s inconclusive in its effect on RA and fibro.] He says studies [not referenced] show side effects are mild and include nausea and occasionally flu like symptoms for several days. ‘You can feel a little bit worse before you get better, but it’s a very short duration,’ said Dr. Arneson.”
(Bolded comments are mine — Wren)
Hmmm. I was able to find only a couple of CMO websites that weren’t obviously run by companies or individuals mainly interested in selling it and other natural supplements; you can see one of them here, and another, here.
My conclusion is that the “news” article that came up in my Google search is actually a press release from the Liquid CMO company, tarted up to look like hard news about a rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia cure, and released in order to sell the product to people who are desperate for relief from pain and disability.
That irritates me. Sorry.
The other thing that stands out is the fact that the article encourages people to buy and take Liquid CMO, even though the “study” is intended to discover which dosages of the substance are effective — and it hasn’t been done yet.
My BS radar is pinging like mad.
I don’t know if this is a scam. Maybe it’s not. Maybe some people – with osteoarthritis – do experience some relief when they take CMO, in any of its numerous forms under many different brands and prices (other brands and forms are sold on Amazon for far less than $92.). But it’s also obviously not a cure for rheuma or fibromyalgia. If it is, why aren’t we all taking it, courtesy of our rheumatologists? The product website claims that Big Pharma wouldn’t buy the stuff and develop it because it’s an unpatentable natural substance – they wouldn’t be able to make any money off it.
But these other, private natural supplement companies sure can – and do — make money off it. I guess we just have to be careful before we open our wallets.
(P.S.: Thanks to everyone for your kind get-well wishes about my sick stomach yesterday, your suggestions for ways to soothe it, and well wishes regarding my achy right hand. The good news is my tummy is just fine today. Must have been a little bug. Or maybe it was those kettle chips I indulged in Saturday night … My right hand is back to a dull roar, which matches my left hand, and that’s pretty much normal these days. Anyway, I appreciate all of you for your kindness and empathy. That is all. ;o) )