|Photo by Idaho National Laboratory on Flickr.com
In my latest review of the medical research, I found one study that showed that 1500mg/day of glucosamine for 12 weeks produced noticeable improvements in symptoms in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
To my surprise, the most recent studies on glucosamine for osteoarthritis are mixed. Some studies show glucosamine reduces osteoarthritis pain and increases joint functionality. Other studies report no effect. This may be because some commercial brands of glucosamine (and chondroitin) do not actually contain the full amount stated on the label.
I noticed the studies indicating that glucosamine had no effect did not verify that the glucosamine and/or chondroitin products they were using really contained the dosages listed on the label.
To avoid buying brands that do not deliver what they promise, it is wise to only buy these supplements from reputable companies, preferably ones with third party certification of the contents.
Glucosamine and Chondroitin:
The June 2006 issue of Consumer Reports describes tests of 17 different brands of glucosamine and chondroitin. Of these, 13 out of the 17 brands contained at least 90% the amounts of glucosamine and chondroitin listed on the label.
Which Brands to Avoid, Which to Buy
The top brand was: Kirkland Signature Extra Strength Glucosamine HCL and Chondroitin Sulfate (Costco), which contained more than 100% of the labeled amounts and cost only $0.25 per day for a therapeutic dose.
Brands ranked 2-5 were:
- Spring Value Glucosamine & Chondroitin Double Strength (Wal-Mart)
- Target Triple Strength Glucosamine and Chondroitin Complex
- Vitamin World Glucosamine Chondroitin Double Strength
- Vitasmart Double Strength Glucosamine &Chondroitin (Kmart)
A therapeutic dose of these cost between $0.40 and $0.40 per day.
Other brands tested containe adequate amounts of glucosamine and chondroitin but cost as much as $1.25/day for a therapeutic dose.
Consumer Reports characterized two brands as inadequate. This is because they contained significantly less chondroitin than the label said.
These two brands are:
- FlexAble Glucosamine & Chondroitin Sugar Free Chewables with Vitamin C which had only 60% of the labeled amount of chondroitin
- Trader Darwin's Glucosamine Chondroitin (Trader Joe's) which had only 10% of the labeled amount.
Buy a copy of the book Conquering Arthritis at regular price and receive a free copy the article, 'Researching Promising Arthritis Therapies Using PubMed.'
This article explains how to use a free internet resource to:
- verify (or debunk) the scientific claims made for products that claim to help arthritis
- check out the track record for various types of arthritis treatments, using the medical literature.