What is Glucosamine ?
Glucosamine is an amino sugar and a prominent precursor in the biochemical
synthesis of glycosylated proteins and lipids. Glucosamine is part of the
structure of the polysaccharides chitosan and chitin, which compose the
exoskeletons of crustaceans and other arthropods, as well as the cell walls of
fungi and many higher organisms.
Current Evidence on Glucosamine
Two Systematic Reviews comparing glucosamine with placebo for OA
found mixed results regarding the efficacy of glucosamine for pain
relief and physical function. The 2005 systematic review comparing glucosamine with placebo showed that "glucosamine was superior to placebo in the treatment of pain and functional impairment resulting from symptomatic OA". To read more about this article [click here]. The systematic review published in 2010 showed that "compared with placebo, glucosamine, chondroitin, and their combination do not reduce joint pain or have an impact on narrowing of joint space" [Click Here] to read more about this article.
Regarding disease modification, a systematic review found no statistically
significant differences in minimum JSN (joint space narrowing) between glucosamine and placebo at 1-year follow-up, though a moderate effect was detected at 3 years. To read more on this systematic review [click here].
With regards to safety, studies did not find any significant difference in adverse events between the glucosamine and the placebo group. So, we can say that glucosamine is a safe supplement, so far.
Current recommendations from the Osteoarthritis Research Society International, is that for symptomatic relief, its benefit is "Uncertain" and its "Not appropriate" for use of disease modifying.
Posted By: Rahul Patel, PharmD. candidate 2015