When was the last time you experienced joint pain? Within the past few days, a week, or perhaps within the past month? If you answered yes to any of these time frames, you would join nearly one-third of all U.S. adults who experience discomfort in their joints. Knees, shoulders, hands, and hips are the most frequent culprits. Many people suffer chronic pain associated with joint degeneration due to osteoarthritis (OA), arthritis’s wear and tear form. Due to the prevalence of joint pain sufferers in the U.S., there are thousands of joint support products on the market, from topicals to NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), heating and icing devices, sleeves, and braces, prescription drugs, and supplements. Determining which treatment or combination of treatments, drugs, and supplements is right for you can be challenging. When experiencing debilitating joint pain, relief is paramount. So how do you choose a joint support product? There are many time-tested ingredients that provide relief, some promising new compounds, and a plethora of combinations of ingredients designed to work together synergistically. We recommend you consider a product with a comprehensive formula of clinically supported compounds and ingredients manufactured by a reputable company that adheres to best-in-class business practices. Having experience as a sports nutrition store owner, supplement category manager, product formulator, and co-founder of an anti-aging line of supplements, I know the one thing peculiar to joint products is that not everyone responds the same to joint health ingredients. We are unique biologically, and what works for one person may provide no discernable relief to the next. That’s where Primal Harvest claims to swoop in to help with their joint supplement, Primal Flex. This supplement is designed to provide fast-acting joint support to promote better mobility and joint health. So, is Primal Flex the solution to your joint issues? In this Primal Flex review, we’ll take a closer look at this supplement, its ingredients, its benefits, and more so you can find out if it’s truly worth the cost. Without further ado, let’s jump right in!
Primal Harvest – Makers of Primal Flex
Primal Harvest, located in Farmingdale, New York, on Long Island, is a relative newcomer in the natural product space, founded in 2018 by Dan Harper. The company provides natural solutions to address digestion, skin, nail and hair health, heart health, energy and wellbeing, immune health, and joint health. Their product line includes supplements such as Primal Greens, Primal Harvest Multivitamin, Primal Harvest Collagen, and Primal Flex which is one of their five products formulated to address joint health. Primal Harvest believes in a holistic philosophy of “supplements before pharmaceuticals.” Their approach is to treat the body as an integrated system, not a series of parts. We concur with this assessment. Any time you can treat the body with healthy habits, diet, exercise, and supplements to address deficiencies, it trumps prescription medications that produce positive results in one system but have adverse side effects. According to the company’s website, Primal Flex is “a high potency natural formula inspired by Ayurveda, a fusion between the best ancient elements and modern ingredients.” Ayurvedic medicine, sometimes referred to as the “sister science” to yoga, originated in India over 3,000 years ago as a natural, whole-body approach to wellness. Although some experts consider Ayurveda to be pseudoscientific, many of the herbs and roots have been used to address health conditions for centuries – and are popular today as adaptogens. We’ll review the comprehensive formula of Primal Flex in-depth in the Ingredients segment. Other company philosophies include manufacturing in the U.S. (Farmingdale, NY) in a cGMP-compliant facility, third-party testing for quality and purity, and using patented, trademarked, clinically tested ingredients. There are no proprietary blends used in Primal Flex, and the label is transparent, indicating each ingredient and its dosage.
What is Primal Flex?
Primal Flex is a premium dietary supplement in capsule form for joint health support, mobility, and optimal inflammatory response. The formulation features the popular, patented ingredient, BioCell Collagen, in addition to Ayurvedic ingredients such as Astaxanthin, Ashwagandha, and Boswellia. BioPerine, a trademarked black pepper extract, is included to improve bioavailability and uptake of the other ingredients, including Turmeric. This is a well-conceived, comprehensive formula that seems to meet the company’s standard of the best modern ingredients coupled with proven ancient elements. Marketing and structure-function claims are reasonable, perhaps even a bit understated, and supported by the clinical trials of BioCell and BioPerine. The only thing resembling a proprietary blend in Primal Flex is the BioCell compound which consists of Hydrolyzed Collagen, Chondroitin Sulfate, and Hyaluronic Acid; however, the dosage of BioCell is clearly indicated, and the ingredient is a trademarked, proprietary process, supported by multiple clinical trials. The company further supports the product with a 90-day Money Back Guarantee. Primal Flex is gluten-free, soy-free, and dairy-free.
Primal Flex Ingredients
There are nine distinct compounds in Primal Flex, two of which are trademarked, BioCell and BioPerine. Additional ingredients include Vitamin C, Magnesium, Turmeric, Eggshell Membrane, Boswellia, Astaxanthin, and Ashwagandha. To this point, we have been very favorably impressed with the company’s philosophies, go-to-market strategies, marketing, and the product’s formulation. As we review each ingredient, we will indicate the amount of each compound in Primal Flex and the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance), recommended dosage, or the dosages used in clinical trials. Unfortunately, many of the ingredients seem inadequate to produce the desired results. Let’s start with the hero ingredient, the most prominent compound by weight in Primal Flex, BioCell. BioCell Collagen, from BioCell Technology, LLC – 500 mg. This trademarked ingredient is a hydrolyzed chicken sternal cartilage extract. The compound is what the company refers to as “a naturally occurring matrix (a matrix, not a blend) of hydrolyzed collagen type II, low molecular weight Hyaluronic Acid (HA), and chondroitin sulfate. BioCell’s unique composition mirrors human articular cartilage. The benefits of collagen, HA, and chondroitin are well established even as stand-alone products in the joint health space. Collagen and HA are known to play a significant role in connective tissue. BioCell’s safety and efficacy in joint health, skin tone, and connective tissues are supported by seven human clinical trials, several of which we review below.
- Clinical trial that supports improved joint comfort, mobility, and quality of life. Dosage 2000 mg daily.
- Sports Nutrition clinical study to support post-workout recovery. Dosage 3000 mg.
- Clinical study related to the health of cartilage, synovial fluid, tendon, and ligament connective tissue. Dosage 2000 mg.
- Women’s skin health trial, successful at reducing fine lines and wrinkles at 1000 mg per day.
- In a bioavailability study of hyaluronic acid in humans, BioCell Collagen at 1500 mg per day led to a 60-times increase in HA levels.
These human clinical, double-blind studies provide evidence to support powerful structure-function claims. However, each study was conducted at minimally double the dosage of BioCell found in Primal Flex. We applaud the use of such a potent ingredient but are concerned regarding its efficacy at 500 mg. Turmeric Extract, 100 mg. The first of our Ayurvedic ingredients in Primal Flex, Turmeric has been used for eons to address various conditions. Curcumin, a potent plant extract with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, is the active ingredient in Turmeric. Research indicates that 500 mg of Turmeric twice daily aids in addressing osteoarthritis. Eggshell Membrane, 100 mg – Eggshell membrane, the area between the egg white and the inner surface of the shell, consists of collagen-type protein fibers and small amounts of other popular joint supplements such as chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine. The amino acids arginine, glutamic acid, valine, proline, and methionine are also present in this nutrient powerhouse. In clinical trials, regular consumption of Eggshell Membrane has been shown to benefit your joints. To quote the research, “Roughly 2.5 grams of eggshells should be enough to meet the daily calcium requirements of an adult.” Boswellia Serrata Gum Resin, 100 mg – Boswellia is another Ayurvedic ingredient used throughout history in Asia and Africa. The resin from Boswellia is believed to treat chronic inflammation, which may prevent osteo and rheumatoid arthritis. The Arthritis Foundation suggests 300–400 mg three times per day. Vitamin C, 200 mg – The U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance for the antioxidant Vitamin C is 65 – 90 mg, with an upper limit of 2 grams. Magnesium, 97 mg – In addition to strengthening bones, Magnesium helps maintain joint cartilage. The RDA is 420 mg. Bioperine, 10 MG – This patented black pepper extract from Sabinsa Corporation is one of the most popular supplement ingredients on the market for its ability to increase absorption and bioavailability. It has been clinically proven to increase Turmeric absorption by 2,000%: clinical dosage, 10 mg. Astaxanthin, 2 mg – Astaxanthin is another Ayurvedic ingredient that may aid in the treatment of joint pain, including rheumatoid arthritis. Web MD recommends a dosage of 4 – 18 mg per day. Ashwagandha, 2 mg – Used primarily in natural products as an adaptogen to help your body better manage stress; this Ayurvedic compound also helps address inflammation. A daily intake of 250–500 mg of Ashwagandha may reduce C-reactive protein levels – a marker of inflammation.
How Does Primal Flex Perform?
As illustrated above, most Primal Flex ingredients and compounds are at less than the dosages proven effective or used in clinical trials. However, the synergistic effect of BioCell in combination with Turmeric, Boswellia, Eggshell Membrane, and BioPerine (to improve bioavailability) may offset this under-dosage to some degree. It is difficult to pinpoint efficacy in the absence of clinical trials on the finished Primal Flex product. Yet, the comprehensiveness of the formula gives us reason to believe the product will provide a measure of relief to a broad spectrum of people with joint issues and arthritis.
Primal Flex Benefits
As previously mentioned in this review, the benefits and structure-function claims for Primal Flex are modest, “supports joint health and an active lifestyle, and supports optimal inflammatory response.” Contrast the stated benefits of Primal Flex with the clinically supported benefits of its primary ingredient, BioCell Collagen:
- Promote joint comfort & mobility
- Enhance post-exercise recovery
- Support skin & joint collagens (type I, II & III)
- Help stimulate cartilage renewal
- Promote tendon and ligament connective tissue recovery following intense exercise
When working with trademarked compounds, the brand, Primal Flex in this example, may use the ingredient’s logo with the appropriate symbol, (™) trademarked or (®) registered. However, to use the clinically proven structure-function claims of the ingredient, the brand must contain the exact dosage as used in the clinical trials. Obviously, at 500 mg, Primal Flex does not meet this requirement, perhaps the reason for the more modest benefit claims.
Primal Flex Dosages
The recommended dosage is two capsules each day, preferably with a morning or afternoon meal. The company cites improved joint health with continued usage and suggests that for optimum results, combine Primal Flex with a healthy diet, exercise, water, and plenty of rest.
Is Primal Flex Safe?
Since Primal Harvest products are manufactured in a facility that processes tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soy, people with allergies should consult their physician before using the company’s products. There is insufficient research on turmeric supplements to determine if they are safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women. Primal Flex is intended for use by healthy adults over 18 years old. Potential adverse side effects include allergic reactions, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. Anyone with a pre-existing medical condition and those taking prescription medications should consult with their medical professional before adding any natural supplement to their regimen.
Primal Flex Pricing
A one-time purchase price for 60 capsules, a 30-day supply is $49.95 on the company’s website. There is a “Subscribe and Save” option offering a 20% discount, plus free shipping. Quantity purchases are as follows:
- 3 Bottles $43.95
- 6 Bottles $39.95
The company offers a 90-Day Money-Back Guarantee if you’re not 100% satisfied with the product and free shipping on orders of $75.00 or more.
Where to Buy Primal Flex
We suggest the company’s website as the best place to purchase Primal Flex due to their promotional offerings and Money Back Guarantee. The product is also offered on Amazon.com at $49.95. Although Walmart stocks other Primal Harvest products, we were unable to find Primal Flex in their assortment. The product does not appear to be available in specialty retailers such as GNC or the Vitamin Shoppe.
In Summary: Primal Flex
Based on the website’s stated philosophy and marketing, we were initially favorably impressed by Primal Harvest. The Primal Flex formula seems comprehensive and includes two popular trademarked ingredients, supported by several Ayurvedic compounds, Turmeric, Ashwagandha, and Astaxanthin.
Two Areas of Concern with Primal Flex
In our research, we were troubled by two comments. First, per the company’s website, “Many of our ingredients have been selected based on scientific research, standardized clinical studies, as well as the ingredients’ beneficial effects.” Yes, there is scientific research and clinical trials supporting the benefits of the ingredients in Primal Flex – but as pointed out, dosages were significantly different. On the website and in several reviews of Primal Flex, third-party testing is mentioned. Although the website does not go into any greater detail, reviews mention NSF or UL certification. A search of the NSF website finds no mention of Primal Flex or Primal Harvest. Beyond these concerns, we are still comfortable suggesting you try the product if suffering from chronic joint pain due to inflammation. Each person responds to joint pain ingredients differently. The BioCell Collagen, with chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid, coupled with Turmeric, Eggshell Membrane, and other Ayurvedic ingredients, may be a formulation that works well for you.
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