Penetrex™ contains a medley of ingredients that claim to revolutionize the relief of inflammation-related pain. After some equivocal research, it sounds like this product could either be amazing for arthritis or have little to no effect.
Most people with arthritis and other autoimmune diseases are deficient in Penetrex’s first ingredient, pyridoxine (vitamin B6) due to inflammation from their disease. While it is very good for arthritis and other autoimmune diseases, it does not reduce inflammation. This supplement would actually be more effective taken at a higher dosage orally.
The other five active ingredients, methylsulfonylmethane(MSM), cetyl myristoleate (CMO), choline bitartrate, arnica, and boswellia serrata, are all potential anti-inflammatories.
MSM reduces inflammation as well as provides joints with the necessary sulfur to repair themselves. In arthritis, this sulfur is often not present in high enough amounts to support healthy joints – especially if you are also taking acetaminophen to reduce pain. The same enzymes that are required to metabolize acetaminophen are those that repair the joints. When these enzymes are employed in processing acetaminophen, there are not enough bodily resources to repair joints. Supplementing the body with MSM orally or topically, as in Penetrex™, curbs this problem and will likely produce positive effects for arthritis pain.
CMO, a natural occurring chemical in mice which are immune to arthritis, is known for its pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, and immune system moderating effects. It can be taken as a dietary supplement or used as a topical ointment as it is in Penetrex™. Applying CMO directly to the joint may help to reduce arthritis pain as well.
Penetrex™ also includes choline bitartrate because it is supportive to nerve health, a problem specific to some of the other ailments this product targets. However, choline may also have beneficial anti-inflammatory effects for arthritis. In the same family as B vitamins, this naturally occurring substance assists in the metabolizing of homocysteine. This may be beneficial for arthritis because, homocysteine, a substance found at high levels in arthritis, increases blood clotting. Choline may help bring these levels down to a normal range and increase blood flow, which is important for clearing up inflammation.
Both arnica and boswellia serrata are homeopathic anti-inflammatory agents that are used widely for inflammation. These ingredients are often used individually to combat inflammation. Applied together with the other medicinal ingredients in Penetrex™, I’d be surprised if you didn’t see any results.
The Transdermal Delivery System
It is difficult to determine if the transdermal qualities of Penetrex™ are as effective as their marketing says. Though it is obvious other creams absorb into the skin, they do not detail their formulation process in a comparable way to that of Penetrex™.
Penetrex’s method of dissolving active ingredients at the water and oil phases of the hydrophyllic emulsion process is not any different than the process by which other creams are made. They keep the pH acidic in this process, which may or may not be unique to their formulation.
Penetrex™ also uses, inactive ingredient, ethoxydiglycol as a carrier for its medicinal active ingredients because it is both water and oil soluble. This carrier and solvent is also used in products like the Icy Hot Medicated Sleeve to transfer pain relief to the needed area. Ethoxydiglycol does serve as a carrier for Penetrex’s formulation through the skin.
The Placebo Effect
The more critical reviewers of Penetrex™ have mentioned that simply massaging the painful area, with or without Penetrex™, had the same effect. Others offered that icing the area gave better relief.
Because of the overwhelming positive reviews and sales hype for Penetrex™, it is possible that many users would experience the same pain relief with or without the cream. Massaging a painful joint stimulates blood flow, which is the same result of some of the active ingredients in Penetrex™. The increased circulation eliminates inflammation and, hence, pain.
Learn how to use the placebo effect to your advantage.