2006-2010 Arthritis Glucosamine Study --
Supplements Beat Celebrex
for Severe Knee Pain

A 2006-2010 glucosamine study pinpointed that natural glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate supplements outmatched popular prescription Celebrex® in relieving moderate-to-extreme osteoarthritis knee pain, swelling, stiffness and inflexibility. The Glucosamine/chondroitin Arthritis Invervention Trial (GAIT) was a large, randomized, placebo-controlled trial conducted across the United States with results published in three different journals in 2006, 2008 and 2010.(1)

The initial GAIT study evaluated the efficacy and safety of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, alone or in combination, as well as celecoxib (prescription drug Celebrex®) and placebo on 1583 patients with knee osteoarthritis. It was sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM).

The trial concluded that glucosamine and chondroitin supplements are extremely safe and provided significant pain relief for those that needed it the most with moderate-to-extreme pain. However, the supplements did not provide significant relief from mild osteoarthritis pain among all participants. The findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) on February 23, 2006. The GAIT researchers were led by rheumatologists Daniel O. Clegg, M.D. and Allen D. Sawitzke, M.D., both of the University of Utah School of Medicine.(1, 10)

Glucosamine study supplements called “extremely safe”

In response to the 2006 NEJM publication, Roland Moskowitz, MD, professor of medicine at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, said having the glucosamine study participants take their dosage once a day instead of spreading it over three times a day, would have given a higher glucosamine peak effect, increasing the odds of significant relief.

“The take-home message: Other studies of glucosamine plus chondroitin have shown positive effects, and even GAIT showed glimmers of benefit,” Dr. Moskowitz concluded of the study. “We have to say something is going on.” A three-month trial is reasonable for people who have a lot of pain,” he recommended. “If it's working, by all means continue using them, as these supplements are extremely safe."(2)

During the GAIT study, participants reported zero negative side effects from the use of glucosamine and chondroitin supplements.

The glucosamine study is good news for consumers to note

“This is very positive news for thousands of arthritis sufferers,” reported the dietary supplement industry's leading trade association, National Nutritional Foods Association (NNFA), in response to the GAIT findings.

“The NEJM’s findings that two popular supplements actually work better than a popular prescription medication underscore what millions of consumers already know. That is, natural products and dietary supplements, when used properly, hold great potential for improving health and well-being,” said Dr. Daniel Fabricant, Vice President of Science and Quality Assurance for NNFA.(3)

Fabricant added that demonstrated “efficacy and safety beyond that of the pharmaceutical intervention” is good news consumers should take note of. “This study is further proof that dietary supplements can play an integral role in consumer’s daily lifestyle and overall health,” said Fabricant, who added: “Arthritis is one of the most prevalent chronic health problems in today's society, and with the use of certain dietary supplements, consumers can empower themselves to lead healthier and more productive lives, while potentially reducing health care costs to the U.S. Health care system and reliance on prescription medications.”

Ancillary GAIT glucosamine study results published in 2008 and 2010

The GAIT team conducted two additional studies published in 2008 and 2010. The first was a 24-month glucosamine study to evaluate the effect of the supplements and celecoxib on progressive loss of joint space width (JSW) of knee osteoarthritis patients. On x-ray, damage to cartilage can be seen as narrowing of the joint space between the bones that form the joint.(4) The second was a 24-month glucosamine trial that assessed the safety and efficacy of the supplements and celecoxib for knee osteoarthritis. Study details and conclusions:

  1. Sawitzke and Clegg conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled ancillary GAIT study with a subset of 572 participants from the original GAIT study to evaluate the effect of glucosamine hydrochloride (HCL) and chondroitin sulfate (CS), alone or in combination, as well as celecoxib and placebo on progressive loss of joint space width (JSW) in patients with knee osteoarthritis. The results were published in the journal, Arthritis & Rheumatism, October, 2008, showing that glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, together or alone, appeared to fare no better than placebo in slowing loss of cartilage in knee osteoarthritis. However, interpreting the study results is complicated because participants taking placebo had a smaller loss of cartilage, or joint space width, than predicted.(5, 1)

  2. Sawitzke et al conducted a subsequent double-blind, placebo-controlled ancillary GAIT study with a subset of 662 patients with moderate-to-severe knee osteoarthritis to evaluate the efficacy and safety of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, alone or in combination, as well as celecoxib and placebo on painful knee arthritis. New data reveal that patients who took the glucosamine supplements alone, or celecoxib, showed beneficial but not significant trends compared to placebo. Chondroitin alone or in combination were less significant than placebo. Serious adverse events were rare for all treatments. Published in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases, June, 2010, the study is the first to assess the safety and effectiveness of the supplements over two years, compared to previous studies of only 24 week duration.(6, 1)

2006-2010 glucosamine study validates glucosamine hydrochloride

The first and third phases of the GAIT glucosamine study (2006 and 2010 publications) each had the objective of evaluating the efficacy and safety of glucosamine hydrochloride and chondroitin sulfate, alone or in combination, as well as celecoxib and placebo on painful knee osteoarthritis.

The primary study results announced Feb. 18, 2006 revealed:

  • The combination of glucosamine and chondroitin is better than placebo but the benefits seem to depend on severity of pain.
  • In patients with moderate-to-severe osteoarthritis knee pain, 79.2% taking glucosamine/chondroitin combination experienced pain relief.
  • For patients taking celecoxib, 69.4% experienced pain relief.
  • For patients taking glucosamine hydrochloride alone, 65.7% experienced relief
  • For patients taking chondroitin alone, 61.4% experienced pain relief.
  • For patients taking placebo alone, 54.3% reported pain relief
  • In patients with mild knee osteoarthritis pain, the glucosamine chondroitin combination was not significantly more effective than placebo.
  • Negative effects of taking glucosamine are generally rare and of a minor nature. There have been no reported significant supplement-drug interactions. There have been no reactions in persons with shell fish allergies (most glucosamine dietary supplements are made from the shells of lobster, crab and shrimp).

Note: Because the primary GAIT study had an imbalance of people with mild pain – there were 20 times more people in the study with mild pain than with moderate-to-severe pain – their experience dominated the results.

The two year 2010 GAIT ancillary study published June 4, 2010 was not favorable for chondroitin, alone or in combination, but was marginly favorable for glucosamine hydrochloride alone and celecoxib. The ancillary study results announced June 4, 2010 revealed:

  • For patients taking glucosamine hydrochloride alone showed clinically beneficial but not significant trends compared with placebo in knee pain and function.
  • For patients taking celecoxib alone also showed clinically beneficial but not significant trends compared with placebo in knee pain and function.
  • For patients taking glucosamine/chondroitin in combination results were not clinically as effective as placebo.
  • For patients taking chondroitin alone results were not clinically as effective as placebo.
  • During this glucosamine study, serious adverse events were rare for all treatments.

Glucosamine study research extensive

Glucosamine research is extensive and was impressive dating back to multiple clinical trials in the 1980s and 1990s. Most of the favorable glucosamine study trials demonstrating benefits for the nutrient were sponsored by the European patent-holder, Rottapharm. These studies were of poor quality due to shortcomings in their methods, including poor analysis of drop outs, short duration, small study sizes, and unclear procedures for double-blind testing.(7, 8)

Several conflicting small studies appeared in the late 1990's that questioned the ingredient's effectiveness for arthritis pain relief. This controversy led to a citationed article, Glucosamine for osteoarthritis: magic, hype, or confusion? published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) June 16, 2001. The article concluded that glucosamine does seem to be very safe but that large clinical trials without company interference were needed to accurately determine its effectiveness.(8)

A three-year randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind glucosamine study published in 2002 in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine examined people with osteoarthritis over three years. Researchers assessed pain and structural improvements seen on x-ray. They gave 202 people with mild to moderate osteoarthritis 1,500 mg of glucosamine sulfate daily or a placebo. (9)

At the end of this glucosamine study, researchers found that glucosamine sulfate slowed the progression of knee osteoarthritis compared to the placebo. People in the glucosamine group had a significant reduction in pain and stiffness. On x-ray, there was no sign of deterioration change or narrowing of joint spaces in the knees of the glucosamine group. In contrast, joint spaces of participants taking the placebo narrowed over the three years. In the knee, loss of articular cartilage typically correlates with loss of meniscal cartilage.(4)

30 questions to help you find the best glucosamine supplement company

Glucosamine remains a hot commodity as a complementary arthritis treatment in spite of conflicting glucosamine study results. Simply stated, patients like glucosamine. And doctors continue to recommend glucosamine supplements if for no other reason than their clinical safety record.

But, for those considering taking glucosamine supplements or for those that already use them, how do you find which product is most effective? There are many confusing choices in the dietary supplement market—manufacturers do not have to prove their products work before selling it due to a weakness in the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) current Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP) regulations.

To be sure you're buying a product you can trust for efficacy and true value, I think it's important to choose a glucosamine supplement carefully.

While doing research trying to find the best dietary supplement company, I prepared a list of 30 questions. I figured if I could find the industry's top companies, they'd also have the best products.

The answers led me to Shaklee Corporation, founded in 1956—a leader in the natural nutrition industry. From what I can determine, the science behind their products is second to none. Just look at their science-- they’ve invested more than $250 million in clinical testing, research and development and have over 90 published studies in peer-reviewed scientific journals (more than any other nutritional company!)

Even before the CGMP's, this natural products corporation voluntarily operated as if regulated the same as a pharmaceutical company—to me, that’s a testament to their integrity

Our arthritis testimony using natural products

From other pages on this site you may be aware that my husband and I both have arthritis. We are no longer on painkiller drugs of any kind and we are proud to share our testimony with you.

In 2003, Shaklee introduced three pain products, one of which is a glucosamine product, New Advanced Joint Health Complex, that my husband and I use for improved joint function and flexibility. My husband has knee osteoarthritis and I have neck arthritis.

My husband used to have extreme swelling, stiffness and aching of his knees every day, especially on days after playing tennis. At times, due to his knee, he could barely get his jeans on and his left leg was stiff as a board. He used over-the-counter pain killers all the time.

Now he’s able to play tennis up to four times a week, and is completely off any anti-inflammatory drug whatsoever. The good news—no worries about drug side effects.

2011 glucosamine study compares effectiveness of leading brands

In a corporate 2011 clinical glucosamine study, New Advanced Joint Health Complex containing vegetarian glucosamine hydrochloride and boswellia extract outperformed the leading competition by improving joint comfort in as few as five days (up to 28% faster than claimed by Osto Bi-Flex®, Nature Made® Triple Flex, and Schiff® Move Free®). (11)

In addition, participants in a 90-day glucosamine study were asked to rate their level of comfort and ease of motion before and after taking joint health products. Results showed that the boswellia extract in New Advanced Joint Health Complex scored significantly better in both categories than the boswellia extract in Osteo Bi-Flex® (45% better joint comfort, and 31% better ease of motion).(11)

A summary of the study details are illustrated in this short video.

Featured supplement from 2011 glucosamine study

The glucosamine supplement we are featuring, New Advanced Joint Health Complex, is one of three natural pain relief solutions manufactured by Shaklee Corporation for arthritis and other painful conditions.

The difference in Shaklee products is they're always safe, always work, and always green. In keeping with that tradition, New Advanced Joint Health Complex is:

  • 100% shellfish free
  • 100% vegetarian
  • gluten free and
  • contains no artifical flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives.
  • 1500 mg. Glucosamine hydrochloride per serving size (only 2 caplets)
  • 100 mg Boswellia extract per serving size (only 2 caplets)
  • Improves joint comfort in as few as five days.
  • Up to 28% faster joint comfort than claimed by Osteo Bi-Flex®
  • 45% more effective at improving joint comfort than Osteo Bi-Flex®
  • No chondroitin for better glucosamine absorption.
  • Includes a specially designed combination of key joint health nutrients: zinc, copper, manganese, and vitamin C—each playing a unique and critical role in building healthy connective collagen and cartilage.
  • Recyclable bottle
  • No bisphenol-QA used in packaging

    My husband and I believe we’ve found the best glucosamine supplement available. We don’t have to worry about ingredient purity and potency or side effects--we’ve chosen the right company with an ironclad guarantee (if it doesn't work, get your money back).

    From more than 20 years personal experience with the manufactuer, personal use of the product since 2003 (including its reformulation in 2011), and supported by its glucosamine study results, I confidently recommend New Advanced Joint Health Complex for you to try. I believe you'll be glad that you did.

    Sources/references

    1. National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), Glucosamine/Chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (GAIT), 2006 primary and 2008/2010 ancillary study results (links to three journal abstracts) http://nccam.nih.gov/research/results/gait/
    2. Article, Arthritis Today, Study Says Glucosamine Supplements Fail to Stop Arthritis Pain http://www.arthritis.org/study-says-glucosamine-supplements-fail-to-stop-arthritis-pain.php
    3. Engredia News & Analysis, NEJM Study Shows Supplements Relieve Mild Forms of Arthritis, National Nutritonal Foods Association (NNFA), February 23, 2006, Newhope360.com http://newhope360.com/nejm-study-shows-supplements-relieve-mild-forms-arthritis
    4. Eustice, C., Ten Things You Should Know About Cartilage, About.com Guide, updated September 18, 2008 http://osteoarthritis.about.com/od/osteoarthritis101/a/cartilage.htm
    5. Sawitske, AD et al. Abstract The effect of glucosamine and/or chondroitin sulfate on the progression of knee osteoarthritis: a report from the glucosamine/chondroitin arthritis intervention trial.. Arthritis Rheum. 2008 Oct;58(10):3183-91. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18821708
    6. Sawitske, AD, et al. Abstract Clinical efficacy and safety of glucosamine, chondroitin sulphate, their combination, celecoxib or placebo taken to treat osteoarthritis of the knee: 2-year results from GAIT,  Ann Rheum Dis. 2010 Aug;69(8):1459-64. Epub 2010 Jun 4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20525840
    7. Adams ME (July 1999). "Hype about glucosamine". Lancet 354 (9176): 353–4.doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(99)90040-5. PMID 10437858.
    8. Chard, J. and Dieppe, P., Glucosamine for osteoarthritis: magic, hype, or confusion?, article, BMJ, 2001 June 16; 322(7300):1439-1440 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1120508/
    9. Pavelka, K. et al, Glucosamine sulfate use and delayof progression of knee osteoarthritis, Arch Intern Med. 2002 Oct 14; 162(18):2113-23.
    10. Clegg D, Sawitske, AD et al.  Glucosamine, Chondroitin Sulfate, and the Two in Combination for Painful Knee Osteoarthritis. New England Journal of Medicine, 2006;354:795-808.
    11. Product bulletin, New Advanced Joint Health Complex, Shaklee Corporation, Glucosamine Study. http://www.shaklee.net/pws/library/products/20281_jointhealthbulletin.pdf


    Glucosamine Study Disclaimer: Health statements on this Glucosamine Study page have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease








    Glucosamine Supplement. A new vegetarian glucosamine supplement knees its competition in a 2011 glucosamine study comparing leading brands Osteo Bi-Flex® , Nature Made® Triple Flex, and Schiff® Move Free®. Click here for details.

    Boswellia. This ancient herb has natural benefits similar to arthritis pain relief medicines but without harmful side effects. Click here for more on boswellia

    Herbal Pain Relief. Herbal pain relief supplements are popular complementary or alternative treatments used effectively for all symptoms of various types of arthritis. Click here for more on herbal pain relief.

    Arthritis Products Three safe natural products scientifically designed to fight pain and reduce dependency on pharmaceutical medicines. Each is unique for rapid relief and joint health …. Click here for details

    Rheumatoid Arthritis Relief. Many of the natural or herbal supplements for osteoarthritis are also recommended for rheumatoid arthritis. Click here for RA natural treatment options

    Osteoarthritis Relief. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It affects joints of the knees, hips, fingers, lower spine and neck. Click here for more on osteoarthritis


    Return from Glucosamine Study to Arthritis-Relief Naturally Home Page