Among people who have chronic knee pain, oral glucosamine does not lessen knee cartilage deterioration, relieve pain, or improve function. That was the conclusion of a short-term study published online March 11, 2014 in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatology. The double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involved 201 study participants with mild to moderate pain in one or both knees. The participants were randomly assigned 1,500 mg. of glucosamine hydrochloride in a 16 ounce bottle of diet lemonade or placebo. Cartilage damage was assessed using MRI.
Results showed no decrease in cartilage damage in the glucosamine group, no change in bone marrow lesions in 70% of knees, worsening of 18% of knees, and improvement in 10% of knees. The control group actually had greater improvement in bone marrow lesions than the glucosamine group. Neither of the groups showed worsening of bone marrow lesions which are typically associated with osteoarthritis. Glucosamine also was not found to decrease excretion of CTX-II, considered a precursor of cartilage destruction.
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