Does Glucosamine Work?
Glucosamine may not help to prevent joint damage in osteoarthritis of the knee, according to research presented at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Scientific Meeting in Philadelphia, PA.
Osteoarthritis, or OA as it is commonly called, is the most common joint disease affecting middle-aged and older people. It is characterized by progressive damage to the joint cartilage-the slippery material at the end of long bones-and causes changes in the structures around the joint. These changes can include fluid accumulation, bony overgrowth, and loosening and weakness of muscles and tendons, all of which may limit movement and cause pain and swelling.
Most commonly affected are the weight-bearing joints-the knees, hips and spine. Osteoarthritis in the knee and hip areas can generate chronic pain or discomfort during standing or walking.
Prior studies of glucosamine and its role in the prevention of joint damage in knee osteoarthritis, as assessed by X-ray, have produced conflicting results. In a 24-week study, researchers recently set out to determine the short-term effectiveness of glucosamine in preventing the worsening of cartilage damage.
The study included 201 participants-49 percent were women-with a mean age of 52 years old-who had mild to moderate knee pain. Participants were randomly placed into two groups with 98 participants receiving glucosamine and 103 receiving placebo.