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Glucosamine and Arthritis

A new study suggests that regular use of the supplement glucosamine sulfate slows the progression of osteoarthritis. The study included a group of people over the age of 50 who had osteoarthritis, the type of arthritis associated with daily wear and tear. 

For 3 years, half of the people took glucosamine and half took a placebo. At the end of the study, x-rays of the knees revealed that arthritis had worsened in the people who took the placebo but not in the people who had taken glucosamine. 

Furthermore, the people who took the placebo reported a slight worsening of their pain and disability, but the people who took glucosamine reported that their pain and disability had lessened. The use of glucosamine was not associated with any substantial side effects.

These results suggest that glucosamine may prevent a worsening of osteoarthritis in people who have this condition. The researchers note, however, that the glucosamine used in the study was carefully prepared as a drug and that glucosamine supplements may not have the same effect.

  • If you have mild or moderate joint pain diagnosed as being caused by osteoarthritis, consider starting over-the-counter glucosamine to help relieve symptoms and also to possibly slow progression of this disease. But be aware that the results of this study do not prove that taking glucosamine will relieve symptoms of osteoarthritis.
  • Be aware that the study was testing the effects of a drug preparation and store-bought supplements may have different results.
  • If you have severe osteoarthritis, or if you are on multiple other medications, discuss with your physician the risks and benefits of adding over-the-counter glucosamine to your treatment plan.
  • Tell your physician if you are taking glucosamine supplements for osteoarthritis.



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