Glucosamine & Chondroitin
Glucosamine is naturally produced in the body. Glucosamine is involved in the making of
glycosaminoglycans and glycoproteins which are important building blocks of many parts
of our joints.
In Osteoarthritis, the synthesis of glucosamine is insufficient thus restricting the
rebuilding and repair of cartilage. The body uses supplemental glucosamine to synthesize
cartilage. In addition, supplemental glucosamine also inhibits certain enzymes that destroy
the cartilage such as collagenase and phospholipase which helps to delay the progression of
Chondroitin is another major component of cartilage and is involved in the attraction of fluid
(acts as water magnet) that lubricates the joints and gives rigidity to the cartilage. It also
acts as a “shock absorber”. Chondroitin provides cartilage with strength and resilience.
Like glucosamine, chondroitin has the ability to prevent enzymes from dissolving cartilage thereby delaying the progression of Osteoarthritis.
Arthritis Research UK
Latest clinical trial on osteoarthritis supports the use of Glucosamine & chondroitin for bone health.
In recent years, both Glucosamine & chondroitin supplements have gained such a following that the US authorities
have undertaken the largest-ever clinical study on Glucosamine & chondroitin to test its effectiveness. Full details
of the trial have been published in the New England Medical Journal (Feb 23, 2006).
The GAIT trial
The GAIT trial is described as "the most rigorous trial to date assessing the effects of Glucosamine & chondroitin
on knee pain associated with osteoarthritis (OA)". The GAIT trial has shown that these two supplements in combination
are even more effective in treating moderate-to-severe OA knee pain than Celecoxib, a COX-2 inhibitor (an anti-inflammatory drug).
The trial was funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH) - the primary US Federal agency for conducting and supporting
medical research - in Bethesda, Maryland. This trial was a six-month, double-blind, five-arm, placebo-controlled involving
1,583 patients with symptomatic OA of the knee.
Over the period, every day patients were given either glucosamine (1500mg); chondroitin (1200mg); Glucosamine & chondroitin
combined; Celecoxib 200mg; or placebo (dummy).
The findings from the GAIT trial made it clear that Glucosamine & chondroitin when taken together in combination is even more
effective than taking Celecoxib - in those with moderate-to-severe arthritis of the knee.