Snake oil for your joints?

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Glucosamine and chondroitin are often seen as useful, safe dietary supplements for those with osteoarthritis, but there hasn’t always been a great deal of evidence.A meta-analysis has just been published in the BMJ to help answer the question – are glucosamine and/or chondroitin more effective than placebo for osteoarthritis?

Basically, no. Looking at joint pain (using a visual analogue scale) and narrowing of joint space in a combination of 10 trials (3,803 patients), with the industry sponsored trials of course showing a more pronounced effect. It should be noted that quite a few of these patients had advanced osteoarthritis, and depending on who you speak to, glucosamine/chondroitin has its effects much earlier on. 

As you know, what we need is a randomised placebo controlled trial on glucosamine and chondroitin to be definitive – and that will be coming along from the University of Sydney at the end of 2011 (the LEGS study). 

In the meantime, read about it here.



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