Recent Studies on Glucosamine Chondroitin and Vitamin C

Several recent studies, using similar combinations of supplements, clearly convey the benefits of glucosamine, chondroitin, and vitamin C in people with osteoarthritis. In particular, glucosamine and chondroitin help rebuild articular cartilage and also have anti-inflammatory properties, which may explain why they reduce joint pain. These two actions likely reduce the influx of white blood cells into joints, where they would release inflammation-promoting free radicals.

In one study, Alan F. Philippi, M.D., of the U.S. Navy treated thirty-two navy SEALs in their forties who had chronic knee or low-back pain or both. For eight weeks some of the subjects received daily supplements containing 1,500 mg of glucosamine hydrochloride, 1,200 mg of chondroitin sulfate, and 228 mg of manganese ascorbate (a form of vitamin C). Meanwhile, other subjects received placebos, and all the subjects were crossed over to the opposite regimen for another eight weeks.

During the study about half of the patients with osteoarthritis of the knees improved, with reductions of 26 to 43 percent in symptoms, while taking the supplements. However, the supplements did not help with low-back pain.

In a separate clinical trial, Amal K. Das Jr., M.D., of Hendersonville Orthopedics Associates, Hendersonville, N.C., asked ninety-three patients with knee osteoarthritis to take 2,000 mg of glucosamine hydrochloride, 1,600 mg of chondroitin sulfate, and 304 mg of manganese ascorbate or to take placebos daily for six months.

Fifty-two percent of patients with mild or moderate osteoarthritis of the knee benefited from symptom reductions of 25 percent or more after taking the dietary supplements. In contrast, only about half that number of patients improved with the placebo.

Perhaps the most significant recent study was directed by Jean-Yves Reginster, M.D., of the University of Liège, Belgium. He and his fellow Belgian, Italian, and British researchers used digitized X rays to carefully measure the rate of knee cartilage damage in 106 patients with osteoarthritis. The patients then took either 1,500 mg of glucosamine sulfate or a placebo daily for three years.

People taking glucosamine had an average negligible loss of 0.06 millimeter in joint space, and many patients actually gained new cartilage. In contrast, people taking the placebo had a much greater 0.31-millimeter loss in joint space. Reginster reported that people taking glucosamine had a 20 to 25 percent improvement in symptoms, whereas those taking placebos has a slight worsening. In addition, twice as many patients taking placebos had significant degeneration of their joints compared with those taking glucosamine.



Thank you for deciding to learn more about the disorder, Osteoarthritis. Inside these pages, you will learn what it is, who is most at risk for developing it, what causes it, and some treatment plans to help those that do have it feel better. While there is no definitive “cure” for Osteoarthritis, there are ways in which individuals can improve their quality of life and change the discomfort level to one that can be tolerated on a daily basis.

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