Many patients have asked me about the well-publicized Glucosamine/Chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial. This six-month, multicenter clinical trial tested glucosamine and chondroitin as a treatment for knee osteoarthritis.

In the study, 1,583 participants (average age 59 with knee osteoarthritis pain were randomly assigned to one of five treatment groups for 24 weeks...

Glucosamine alone (1,500 mg per day)...chondroitin alone (1,200 mg). . .glucosamine and chondroitin (1,500 mg and 1,200 mg, respectively)...200 mg of the prescription anti-inflammatory drug celecodb (Celebrex).,.or a placebo.


Researchers concluded that "glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate alone or in combination did not reduce pain effectively in the overall group of patients with osteoarthritis of the knee." As a result, many media outlets reported that glucosamine and chondroitin were ineffective for the treatment of osteoarthritis. While the combination wasn't effective for mild sufferers in the study, it was more effective than Celebrex for participants with moderate to severe osteoarthritis pain in the knees. Yet most of the mainstream media did not report this finding. Interestingly, for the group of patients with moderate to severe pain, Celebrex was only mildly more effective than the placebo.

My view: If you are being helped by these supplements, keep taking them. It's worthwhile to try them before taking Celebrex or a similar drug, since glucosamine and chondroitin have a much lower risk of side effects, such as digestive upset. Even if you have only mild pain, these supplements can help prevent cartilage breakdown so that the problem does not worsen.

For high-quality formulas, use brands sold at health-food stores.
Caution: Glucosamine and chondroitin may increase insulin resistance, so people with diabetes should monitor blood sugar levels carefully. The combination supplement should not be used by people with shellfish allergies.

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