Glucosamine For Joints

Glucosamine is a common supplement used for treating osteoarthritis of the joints. Two significant studies were conducted at the University of Liege, Belgium, where researchers used digitial x-rays to precisely measure knee cartilage in patients with osteoarthritis. After taking 1,500 mg of glucosamine daily for three years, most patients had no loss of cartilage and many had increases in cartilage, along with significant reductions in pain. Meanwhile, patients taking placebos lost cartilage.

In a follow-up analysis of 15 human studies, the researchers reported that glucosamine increased joint cartilage, lessened pain, and improved knee mobility. By the way, those studies were published in two of the top medical journals, the American Medical Association’s Archives of Internal Medicine (an AMA publication) and Britain’s Lancet.

Even if you take glucosamine for a few years and then stop, you’ll still have long-lasting protection. The Belgian researchers followed up on 275 patients who took either glucosamine or placebos for one to three years, then discontinued taking the supplements when the studies wrapped up.

Five years later, the patients who had taken placebos were most likely to undergo surgery for total joint replacement of their knees. Those who had taken glucosamine sulfate supplements for one to three years were 57 percent less likely to have this type of surgery.

I believe that the incidence of joint replacement surgery would have been far less if the patients had been encouraged to continue taking glucosamine sulfate supplements.


References: Pavelka K, Gatterova J, Olejarova M, et al. Glucosamine sulfate use and delay of progression of knee osteoarthritis. Archives of Internal Medicine, 2002;162:2113-2123.

Reginster JY, Deroisy R, Rovati LC, et al. Long-term effects of glucosamine sulphate on osteoarthritis progression: a randomised placebo-controlled clinical trial. Lancet, 2001;357:251-256 and 247-248.