Supplements may not ease arthritis pain

March 1, 2006 in Nutrition for Older Adults, Nutrition Topics in the News, Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements

Supplements may not ease arthritis pain

A recent study conducted by the National Institute of Health, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, has found that two popular nutrition supplements commonly used to treat osteoarthritis pain may actually have little impact.

Researchers examined the effects of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate on arthritis pain in over 1,500 patients with arthritis knee pain. Patients received one of five treatments, glucosamine or chondroitin, a combination of both, a painkiller or a placebo. Neither the doctor nor the patients knew what treatment was given.

After six months, participants filled out questionnaires to determine how many felt a 20 percent reduction in pain. Sixty percent who took placebos had reduced pain, compared with 64 percent who took glucosamine, 65 percent who took chondroitin and 67 percent who took the combo pills. Researchers suggest that that these differences were so small, they could have occurred by chance.

Of the over 350 people with moderate to severe pain, 79 percent who took both supplements reported relief compared with 54 percent who took placebos and 69 percent who took the painkiller.

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