New Studies Show That Glucosamine Does Not Improve Osteoarthritis

I am always telling my mum to take her glucosamine pills. I was surprised recently that official new studies reveals that there are no evidence of any good taking the pills for osteoarthritis. Popping glucosamine is no different than taking
a placebo.

Osteoarthritis happens when the cushions and covers of the bone joints degenerate. This in turn causes the bone ends to grind against each other causing excruciating pain especially in the hips and joints. Little can be done to reverse the cartillage degeneration but folk wisdom says that glucosamine can repair the damage.

Types of Glucosamine

Glucosamine is not a prescribed drug and it comes in various forms in the market.

  1. Glucosamine hydrochloride
  2. Glucosamine sulphate
  3. N-acetyl glucosamine

Glucosamine hydrochloride

In a 1999 study(Cochrane Review), showed glucosamine was safe and effective for a short term period but in an updated 2005 Cochrane Review(16 good studies done) concluded that glucosamine hydrochloride was ineffective in treating osteoarthritis. In August 2010, the US National Institute of Health(NIH) published  their two year study on glucosamine hydrochloride and another supplement called chondroitin. Taking one or both of these is no different than taking a painkiller or a placebo.

Glucosamine sulphate

Glucosamine sulphate was deemed more effective(only in industry funded studies) than placebos in improving joint function and pain relief in osteoarthritis. Suspiciously, glucosamine sulphate from only a particular manufacturer seemed to provide that therapeutic effect.

Industry Financed Studies vs Non Industry Financed Studies

In 2007, Boston University scientists found out that they were two types of studies done. The  industry financed studies on glucosamine sulphate appeared to be more positive as compared to the non financed studies. It is widely suspected that industry funded or industry affiliated authors who gave the positive reviews to glucosamine sulphate were biased in their findings. Although glucosamine sulphate appeared effective in some studies, there is little evidence to show that it behaves any better than glucosamine hydrochloride in tackling osteoarthritis in our bodies.

So what am I to do with this new found knowledge? Elderly folks still pop their glucosamine pills for the placebo effect. The only good news is that glucosamine have no dangerous side effects as compared to pain killers. You can still pop the glucosamine pills if it makes you feel good but it does not improve or regenerate the cartillages in your joints.

Read more articles by Sharif Ishnin below:

Stop Self Hypnotizing Yourself

Lose Weight Fast While Fasting

Sharif Ishnin is a writer and miniature painter from Singapore.

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  1. Sharif this is sad information. I brought loads of this stuff for myself, my dogs and my horses over the years. I will have to look into Blue algae again.

  2. I have been taking glucosamine for years in the hope preventing any further joint deterioration but I must agree with you, they don’t work. In fact there is very little that does work. It is quite depressing really. Thanks for the information.


  3. @lilyrose- Yes, it’s quite distressing to learn about this. Unbelievable too..

  4. Longing forward to more studies about osteoartritis

  5. I have also been taking glucosamine for years, This article is very timely because I need to get some more (or so I thought), but now I won’t waste money. Here I was thinking that I was just getting worse, when they just weren’t working at all. Thanks Sharif. :-)

  6. Sharif – great article and very useful information for all those concerned.

  7. a very helpful article updating on the latest news about glucosamine in relation to Osteoarthiritis. thanks very much for sharing. :)

  8. Thanks for this update. Many people are suffering now from osteoarthritis and they need all the information they can get. I hope I won’t have to deal with this ailment in the future.

  9. No wonder my dad took them and never got relief. He was still in pain. It might have helped a little.

  10. It’s an outrage but not surprising.

  11. nice post, thanks for sharing this info.

  12. I learned something today. Thanks!

  13. thanks for sharing this info, mate.
    Shall tell my sis, though not too old but she ever bought this for herself, and ever bought for my mum but mum said stop buying no difference after taking…

  14. Sadly not much helps with this disease. Great article to bring to light what does not work. Thank you for the share.

  15. Seems as though it takes years for the lack of effect of anything to be stated. thank you for your great research.

  16. I had never heard about glucosamine before but I still don’t suffer from osteoarthritis. We must hope medicine makes new discoveries soon for such a terrible disease!

  17. Sharif, glucosamine with omega 3 nearly killed my husband. He is on warfarin tablets and taking the glucosamine/omega 3 tablets totally effected him and sent his system into a spin!

  18. wow. awesome information here. =p thanks for warning us

  19. I tried it and it really didn’t help me at all so this is not surprising. Thanks.

  20. I would prefer taking the ginsoaked raisins.

  21. Those seem to help some people. People take about nine raisins a day. The golden raisins are the ones that are used.
    Sometimes when studies conflict it’s because something else is coming on the market.
    Hope your Mom is doing better after the surgery.

  22. I too was under the impression that glucosamine helps in improving asteoarthritis and like you, I always tell my mom to take them without fail.

  23. A timely article, I was considering buying the pills! With all the publicity many variety are now available.

  24. Another scam? Awww…why do they give false hopes just to empty your pockets? Such schemers! Much better for us to take natural remedies. As one has said “Let thy food be thy medicine” and vice versa.

  25. Very informative and to the point. It is sad that this is in fact a placebo, more and more people and animals suffer from this.
    It is such a painful desease. Thanks Sharif for this update.

  26. Our company doctor recently prescribed me to take Flexxbon as the result of my (R) knee x-ray showed “Subchondral sclerosis, Osteoarthritis changes seen”. I’m 31 btw and I don’t feel any pain. If glucosamine is no use. What other medications and/or exercises are ok to consume and do?

    Thank you.

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