Copied from a news release I just read:
Researchers from the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, have conducted a review of the scientific literature to determine the effectiveness of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate in knee osteoarthritis (OA).
The reviewers critically evaluated the published clinical studies on glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate’s use in osteoarthritis. After examining the literature, they found that almost every included trial confirmed that the safety of these compounds was equal to the placebo. In the studies satisfying the scientists’ inclusion criteria, glucosamine sulfate, glucosamine hydrochloride, and chondroitin sulfate have individually shown inconsistent efficacy in decreasing osteoarthritis pain and improving joint function. However, when the substances were given together, many studies confirmed osteoarthritis pain relief with glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate use.
These findings led the reviewers to conclude, “The excellent safety profile of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate therapy should be discussed with patients, and these supplements may serve a role as an initial treatment modality for many OA patients.”
Vangsness CT Jr, Spiker W, Erickson J. A review of evidence-based medicine for glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate use in knee osteoarthritis. Arthroscopy. 2009 Jan;25(1):86-94.
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