Study 1: Glucosamine & Osteoarthritis
Glucosamine supplements are widely used for osteoarthritis, particularly knee osteoarthritis. In osteoarthritis, cartilage -- the rubbery material that cushions joints -- becomes stiff and loses its elasticity. This makes the joint prone to damage and may lead to pain, swelling, loss of movement, and further deterioration.
Since the body's natural glucosamine is used to make and repair joint cartilage, taking glucosamine as a nutritional supplement is thought to help repair damaged cartilage by augmenting the body's supply of glucosamine. There is promising evidence that glucosamine may reduce pain symptoms of knee osteoarthritis and possibly slow the progression of osteoarthritis. For example, a study published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine examined people with osteoarthritis over three years. Researchers assessed pain and structural improvements seen on x-ray. They gave 202 people with mild to moderate osteoarthritis 1,500 mg of glucosamine sulphate a day or a placebo.
At the end of the study, researchers found that glucosamine slowed the progression of knee osteoarthritis compared to the placebo. People in the glucosamine group had a significant reduction in pain and stiffness. On x-ray, there was no average change or narrowing of joint spaces in the knees (a sign of deterioration) of the glucosamine group. In contrast, joint spaces of participants taking the placebo narrowed over the three years.
Study 2: What type of Glucosamine is best?
Glucosamine sulphate, as used in the clinical study outlined below is the type used in all Bioconcepts Glucosamine products as it is the most widely researched and studied format with the most evidence to support its performance in improving osteoarthritis symptoms.
Importantly, a report from the Arthritis Research Campaign states:
Despite some mixed results, the majority of trials that have evaluated the effectiveness of glucosamine sulphate demonstrated significant clinical benefits when compared to placebo or NSAIDs. Evidence from trials on glucosamine hydrochloride is scarce and much less convincing. The medication, in both sulphate and hydrochloride preparations, appears to be safe with only mild and infrequent adverse effects.
Studies also show the longer term benefits of taking Glucosamine vs other painkillers.
Effectiveness of Glucosamine Sulphate Vs. Ibuprofen
Although results are seen faster with NSAIDs, the benefits typically do not last as long, and other serious side effects such as long term joint damage are possible. Glucosamine Sulphate has been shown to reduce joint pain as well as increase joint space as shown on x-rays.
Effectiveness of Various Treatments
In this study, glucosamine (red) performed better than placebo (grey), NSAID alone (blue), or NSAID plus glucosamine (green). Results were monitored after discontinuing the treatment showing the glucosamine patients maintained some of the benefits whereas in the NSAID group (blue) pain returned at a faster rate. Current recommendations for glucosamine are to take it until maximum results are felt, and then use it in alternating months.