Glucosamine sulfate, Chondroitin Sulfate (2009) & Osteoarthritis

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The trial is known as the Glucosamine/chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (GAIT, sponsored by NIH and was developed because controversy remains as to of the efficacy of glucosamine sulfate in the treatment of knee and hip osteoarthritis. this meta-study evaluated a number of studies on the effect of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate formulations on development of the condition.

This trial compared a number of agents: a combination of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfates, and celecoxib; placebo; glucosamine hydrochloride; and chrondrotin sulfate. The study was a double-blind 6 month study of patients with osteoarthritis in the knee. It found that glucosamine hydrochloride and chondroitin alone or in combination did not effectively reduce pain in knee osteoarthritis patients.

However the study did suggest that the combination of glucosamine hydrochloride and chrondrotin sulfate may be helpful for those with moderate to severe osteoarthritis of the knee.

Editor's Note: glucosamine hydrochloride and glucosamine sulfate are both salts, but not the same.

The researchers pointed out that while in the past research had been based mostly on symptoms, newer research examines the capacity of glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate to change structure, possibly slightly offsetting the narrowing of joint space which gives rise to pain. They concluded that glucosamine sulfate, but not glucosamine hydrochloride, may have small to moderate effect on symptoms (debated by other researchers) but that there is compelling evidence that glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate may slow the progression of osteoarthritis.

Reseachers: Bruyere O, Reginster JY, WHO Collaborating Center for Public Health Aspect of Osteoarticular Disorders, University of Liege, Liege, Belgium

Published: Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate as therapeutic agents for knee and hip osteoarthritis, Drugs Aging. 2007;24(7):573-80.