According to the British Medical Journal:
“Compared with placebo, glucosamine, chondroitin, and their combination do not reduce joint pain or have an impact on narrowing of joint space. Health authorities and health insurers should not cover the costs of these preparations, and new prescriptions to patients who have not received treatment should be discouraged.”
The researchers studied an average age range of 58 to 66. 800 mg of chondroitin and 1550 mg a day of glucosamine were the minimum doses. 12 out of 58 reports were considered representing 10 trials.
The key phrase was ‘clinically significant’. In some studies there was a difference of 3 to 5% in pain scales. Glucosamine Hydrochloride was fairly represented in only one trial. As advisors to the Health Food trade we have known for many years that glucosamine sulphate and chondroitin are poorly absorbed into our digestive system. Glucosamine Hydrochloride is tolerated much better. Indeed one of the main suppliers Higher Nature, only use glucosamine hydrochloride in their supplements. One person reported to me that he found a difference in different suppliers. He noticed a positive effect when a supplement had manganese added. In 1993 I heard a speaker for Forever Living Products point out that manganese had a positive effect in reducing back pain.
The researchers are not saying, ‘Stop taking supplements’. They are simply saying that the health service does do not have sufficient research available to justify funding these supplements. It is a shame that the prescribed medication could lead to thinning of the mucous lining of the gut and potential internal bleeding.