Oral glucosamine supplementation does not lessen knee cartilage deterioration in patients with chronic knee pain. This is the outcome of a short-term study by US researchers under the leadership of Kent Kwoh from the University of Arizona (Tucson). The study was presented in “Arthritis & Rheumatology”. According to the researchers, glucosamine neither decreases pain, nor does it improve arthritis of the knee.
In the USA, intake of natural glucosamine products is one of the most commonly used alternative therapies to treat osteoarthritis of the knee joint. In the double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, the researchers analysed 201 participants with mild to moderate pain in one or both knees. One group received a daily dose of 1,500 mg of glucosamine hydrochloride over 24 weeks in a 16-ounce bottle of diet lemonade, the other group received a placebo. MRI was used to assess cartilage damage.
In a comparison of the groups, no differences in damage were discovered. Also, no improvements were found. No change was shown in 70 percent of the bone marrow lesions, while 18 percent of the knees worsened and 10 percent improved. Furthermore, it was determined that greater improvements in bone marrow lesions were discovered in the control group in relation to the subjects treated compared to the glucosamine group. Kwoh concluded: “Our study found no evidence that drinking a glucosamine supplement reduced knee cartilage damage, relieved pain, or improved knee joint function”.