Some clinical trials prove glucoseamine-chondroitin to be just as effective as drugs for joint pain relief. The results of long-awaited, well-controlled clinical trials on glucosamine and chondroitin have reveal that the combination of these two supplements significantly reduced pain in arthritic joints, equal to or better than at least one prescription pain-killer. The results come from the multi-centered glucosamine/chondroitin arthritis intervention trial (or GAIT) conducted by the US government-funded National Institutes of Health. In this study, almost 1500 osteoarthritis patients were given a daily dose of either 1500 milligrams of glucoseamine, 1200 milligrams of chondroitin sulfate, a combination of both supplements, or 200 milligrams of the common prescription painkiller celecoxib or a placebo for 24 weeks.
Results showed that neither supplement had a significant effect on their own. However, the combination of glucosamine and chondroitin significantly reduced knee pain and appeared to be just as effective as the drug treatment. The researchers concluded that the combination of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate is a safe and effective treatment for moderate to severe osteoarthritis.
Source: American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting
Another well designed study compared the effects of glucosamine sulfate directly to ibuprofen for pain relief in a large group of patients diagnosed with severe osteoarthritis. You wouldn’t expect a natural compound such as glucosamine sulfate to be as effective as a powerful medication like ibuprofen. However, that’s exactly what the results of this study revealed. A group of 45 women and men received either glucosamine sulfate (500 milligrams per day) or ibuprofen (400 milligrams per day) for 90 days in a randomized double- blinded study. Perception of pain and movement range of motion assessments revealed that a significant improvement was seen in both treatment groups with no difference between the treatments.
In the group taking glucosamine sulfate, 71% experienced a significant amount of pain relief where as compared to 61% of those using ibuprofen. Therefore, glucosamine sulfate appears to be as effective as some medications such as ibuprofen at relieving chronic joint pain. However, high doses of glucosamine sulfate are required to obtain noticeable benefits, particularly in the initial stages of treatment.
Source: Evaluation of glucosamine sulfate compared to ibuprofen for the treatment of temporomandibular joint osteoarthritis: a randomized double blind controlled 3 month clinical trial. J Rheumatol.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and aspirin are used to relieve pain for a plethora of conditions. In fact, around 70 million prescriptions for NSAIDs are written yearly. However, these drugs cause some serious side-effects including gastric hemorrhage, increase risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack), and stroke. Therefore, we should always be on the lookout for a more natural, less harmful solutions to pain relief. Enter the omega-3 essential fats. An increasing amount of research suggests the omega-3s are highly effective anti-inflammatory agents.
A recent study evaluated 250 patients for nonsurgical spine pain, all of which were taking NSAIDs. Each subject was placed on a 2.4 g per day of a high-quality omega-3 supplement for two weeks followed by 1.2 g per week for a further 8 weeks. Follow-up assessments were conducted via the use of a questionnaire. Some very interesting results were documented. Assessments revealed that 69% of the subjects reported a decrease in joint pain. Importantly, 59% were able to stop taking NSAIDS for their joint pain altogether. Almost two-thirds of the study participants experienced such effective pain relieve they could stop using NSAIDs. Best of all, no significant side effects were reported in response to the supplementation.
As I said, the science-based evidence on the effectiveness of the omega-3s to elevate joint pain and decrease inflammation is growing almost on a weekly basis. However, research shows that one omega-3 in particular, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is responsible for these potent anti-inflammatory benefits.
Source: Surgical Neurology 2009