A short-term study found that oral glucosamine supplementation is not associated with lessening knee cartilage deterioration among individuals with chronic knee pain (Arthritis Rheumatol. 2014 Mar 11. [Epub ahead of print]). Findings indicated that glucosamine did not decrease pain or improve knee bone marrow lesions.
The double blind, placebo-controlled trial consisted of 201 participants with mild to moderate pain in one or both knees. Participants were randomized to receive 1500 mg of a glucosamine hydrochloride in a 16-ounce bottle of diet lemonade or placebo for 24 weeks. MRIs were used to assess cartilage damage. The trial results showed no decrease in cartilage damage in participants taking glucosamine, compared to the placebo group. There was no change in bone marrow lesions in 70 percent of knees, 18 percent of knees worsened and 10 percent improved. The control group had saw more improvement of bone marrow lesions compared to the treated participants, though neither group show a worsening of lesions.
"The findings were not surprising given some of the limitations associated with the study, including the short duration of intervention and lack of statistical power," said Andrea Wong, Ph.D., vice president of scientific and regulatory affair, Council for Responsible Nutrition. "Also, it is known that glucosamine also has anti-inflammatory activities that would benefit individuals with osteoarthritis. Anti-inflammatory effects would not be detected through MRI, which was used in this study to assess cartilage damage."
The joints on glucosamine (JOG) study is the first to look at whether glucosamine prevents the worsening of cartilage damage or bone marrow lesions.