Oral glucosamine, a natural supplement often marketed for joint pain, has no more effect than a dummy pill, according to a new review of available research.
The analysis of randomized controlled trials from which data have been made public found that at both three-month and 24-month follow-up points, the supplement had no effect on either hip or knee pain from arthritis.
Even analyses of the results for sub-groups of study participants, such as overweight people or those with high inflammation, found no benefit with the supplements.
“Most recent guidelines conclude there is an overall lack of efficacy of glucosamine, however, we knew that osteoarthritis could affect subgroups differently,” said senior study author Sita Bierma-Zeinstra of Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
The most recent report from the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics found that Americans spent nearly $13 billion in 2012 on natural product supplements, and glucosamine was one of the most popular.
The Osteoarthritis Research Society International and the U.S. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recently issued guidance about the lack of evidence for glucosamine as a cure for joint pain.
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