Oral glucosamine supplementation is not associated with a lessening of knee cartilage deterioration, pain relief or improved function among individuals with chronic knee pain, a short-term study found.
Glucosamine is the second most commonly-used alternative therapy to treat joint pain and arthritis, the authors noted, citing a 2007 Gallup poll reports that 10% of U.S. adults use glucosamine, with more than $2 billion in global sales.
Researchers enrolled 201 participants with mild to moderate pain, defined by the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities pain score from 25 to 100, in one or both knees, in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Participants were treated daily with 1,500 mg of a glucosamine hydrochloride in a 16-ounce bottle of diet lemonade or placebo for 24 weeks. Magnetic resonance imaging was used to assess cartilage damage.
Results published in Arthritis & Rheumatology,
There was no decrease in cartilage damage in participants in the glucosamine group compared to the placebo group. The adjusted odds ratio (aOR) for decreased cartilage damage for any Whole Organ MRI Score subregion in the glucosamine group compared to the control group was 0.938 (95% CI, 0.528 to 1.666). Control patients showed more improvement than treatment patients in bone marrow lesions (aOR=0.537; 95% CI, 0.291 to 0.990) but no difference in worsening bone marrow lesions (aOR=0.691; 95% CI, 0.410 to 1.166).
Glucosamine was not found to decrease urinary excretion of C-telopeptides of type II collagen, a predictor of cartilage destruction (beta=-0.10, 95% CI, ˗0.21 to 0.002).
This study was funded by the Beverage Institute for Health & Wellness, The Coca-Cola Company and a grant from the National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. The manufacturer of the brand of glucosamine used in the study has ties to Coca-Cola.