Results from two major studies investigating glucosamine and chondroitin supplements for treating osteoarthritis (OA) are in. And the news is good.
Supplements Best for Severe Pain. The first study, dubbed GAIT and funded by the National Institutes of Health, tested 1,258 people with OA of the knee. Each day, participants took either three 500-milligram doses of glucosamine hydrochloride, three 400-milligram doses of chondroitin sulfate, both doses of glucosamine and chondroitin together, 200 milligrams of celecoxib (Celebrex) or a placebo.
After four months, the researchers found glucosamine by itself was better than placebo. And glucosamine/chondroitin together was the most effective for relieving severe knee pain?even better than prescription Celebrex. Almost 80% of participants found relief. The supplements were only effective for severe pain, however, not mild pain.
More Confirmation for Glucosamine. A second study, from Europe known as GUIDE, studied 318 people (88% women) with OA. They took either three 500-milligram doses daily of glucosamine sulfate, 3,000 milligrams daily of acetaminophen (Tylenol) or a placebo. After four months, GUIDE found glucosamine provided significantly greater relief than either acetaminophen or placebo.
The Bottom Line. The findings confirm what OA sufferers have long known: glucosamine and chondroitin provide relief. Here’s advice from EN before you buy:
- Check with your doctor first. Glucosamine can raise blood sugar levels and chondroitin can thin blood.
- Look for a combination glucosamine/chondroitin supplement, such as Puritan Pride Double Strength Glucosamine and Chondroitin, Rexall Osteo BiFlex or Cosamin DS Joint Health Supplement, all of which passed muster with ConsumerLab.com’s quality review.
- Spread out your daily doses. Take glucosamine (as hydrochloride or sulfate) in three doses of 500 milligrams each. Take chondroitin sulfate in three doses of 400 milligrams each.
- Steer clear of glucosamine if you?re allergic to shellfish. Or try glucosamine from a vegetarian source.