Living your best life with arthritis.

AS it Goes – Too Good to be True?

Symbol of a target with and arrow and the word "promo"

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles with

Last week, my computer mouse inadvertently hovered over some advertising scrolling along the screen and I was instantly transported to another website.

This is not the first time this has happened, but before I became involved in an investment pitch or a cure for belly fat (both of which I probably could use), I warned myself to be remain vigilant and then repeatedly hit the “back” button until I was safely back on the terra firma of my home page.

However, sometimes a slip of the mouse turns into an adventure; offers to test “free” products are particularly intriguing. One ad caught my eye because it was a skillful piece of marketing with some credible aspects, including the product’s use of natural ingredients to “relieve pain, increase flexibility” and “increase mobility.” Perhaps this was serendipity? I am always on the lookout for ways to combat a big demon related to ankylosing spondylitis (AS): inflammation, which is a key contributor to joint pain and stiffness.

So I decided to give in to my natural curiosity and clicked on a site for “Instaflex” (an over-the-counter product apparently now available online and in stores in Canada). The Instaflex ad claims that its eight natural ingredients including turmeric, willow bark, glucosamine, ginger and boswellia serrata extract will help me regain mobility so that I can “get back to enjoying life with friends and family.” A quick Google check of the products indicated that each herbal ingredient contained or had natural anti-inflammatory properties, although the jury is out on whether any of these supplements actually offer effective remedies for joint problems.

During my Google meandering, I discovered that had done a comparison of Instaflex with other similar joint relief products. It concluded that while Instaflex may alleviate mild arthritic symptoms there are other products on the market that are less costly and may provide better pain relief.

I’ve recently noticed ads for Instaflex popping up in magazines and on the Internet (for example, on’s home page). The manufacturer is actively promoting a 14-day free trial and claims that Instaflex may work for you in as little as one week. However, you probably would need a few months supply (at $75 or so per bottle) to determine whether the product makes any longer-term difference in your joint health. So I hit the order button after I “qualified” for a free sample (there is a $4.99 shipping fee), only to find that I had to provide my credit card info up front as there is an auto-shipping requirement to keep the product coming to my door every month.

Fran HalterCelebrities such as former NFL quarterback Doug Flutie may endorse its amazing properties and Instaflex states that it is a sponsor of the Arthritis Foundation in the U.S., but I remain skeptical. If it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably too good to be true. ~Fran