To date, literally hundreds of studies have been performed on the supplement glucosamine sulfate. Anecdotal reports from people who use it are great, and chances are good that if you decide to try it you’ll probably find at least one friend who uses it and has noticed an improvement in her arthritis. But to me, scientific studies are even more important as they provide the back up and proof behind the stories.
One such study of glucosamine sulfate compared it to ibuprofen. “Pain scores” were recorded throughout the time of the research and although the scores went down quicker for the group that was taking the ibuprofen, by four weeks the subjects who were taking the glucosamine sulfate were doing even better. At that time, the scientists who were conducting the study rated 44 percent of the patients taking the glucosamine as doing “good” as opposed to only 15 percent of the ibuprofen group.
A three-year trial conducted in Belgium on 212 people with damaged knees due to arthritis also found that patients who took glucosamine sulfate for their osteoarthritis reported bigger improvements than those who didn’t take the supplement. Specifically, the glucosamine group took 1,500 mg of the supplement every day, while the other group took a placebo. As a bonus, the Belgian researchers found that the glucosamine sulfate stopped knee joints from narrowing, which was proof that the supplement truly did stop arthritis from progressing, and helped keep the shock-absorbing cartilage healthy.
Still another study, conducted in Portugal, involved over 1,500 patients who took 500 mg of glucosamine sulfate three times a day for about two months. After this time, everyone was evaluated for the amount of pain they were sensing in different situations; for example when exercising or standing, etc. Fifty-nine percent of the group that took the glucosamine sulfate was found to have “good therapeutic efficacy” and “sufficient efficacy” in 36 percent of the patients, which means a pretty impressive 95 percent of the subjects who took the glucosamine sulfate benefited from taking it.
Osteoarthritis is definitely both common and painful. But don’t feel that your diagnosis means an automatic life filled with both discomfort and lots of pain medications. There are natural remedies that may help you, and glucosamine sulfate is one of them. Hopefully if you decide to give it a try, you will experience similar results as the people in the studies.
Balch and Balch, Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Third Edition, 2000
Murray, Michael, Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements, 1996