Source: Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Rheumatology.
Research: Previous studies that used X-rays to determine whether glucosamine can prevent joint damage in knee osteoarthritis have produced conflicting results. This study involved 201 men and women, average age 52, with mild to moderate knee pain due to osteoarthritis. Participants were randomly assigned to take either 1500 mg of glucosamine hydrochloride or a placebo, once daily. MRI scans and X-rays were taken of both knees, both at the beginning of the study and also 6 months later.
Results: At the end of the 6 months, the odds of having worsening cartilage damage were the same in both groups. There was also no significant difference in the chance of having worsening bone damage. Importantly, the analysis took into account risk factors such as age, gender, body mass index and pain that could affect the results. Additionally, when a urine biomarker was used as a basis for comparison, there was no difference in the formation of new cartilage between the two groups. Researchers conceded that longer follow up might show structural benefit and interpretation of results was complicated by the fact that the placebo group had less arthritis progression during the study than the researchers had predicted.