There are a number of studies that support the use of glucosamine and chondroitan for arthritis pain. A recent double-blind study appearing in the New England Journal of Medicine (2006; 354(8): 795-808) looked at 1,583 patients with osteoarthritis in the knee. The study was looking at pain reduction over a 24 week period. If found that patients with moderate to severe knee pain experienced a reduction in pain when placed on a combination of glucosamine and chondroitan supplements.
Of course these supplements help to repair and strengthen cartilage and are not primarily used for pain relief. Still many of the studies focus on pain and compare the supplement to popular pain medications. The fact that glucosamine and chondroitan can improve the health of the cartilage to actually give an arthritis patient some pain relief is a testament to how effective they can be.
One study appearing in Eksp Klin Farmakol (2002 Nov-Dec; 65(6): 67-9) looked at glucosamine and its capacity to repair cartilage in traumatic arthritis and keratitis in the cornea following trauma. It found that supplementation with glucosamine hydrochloride improved the healing of connective tissue. Another study, appearing in Osteoarthritis Cartilage (2003;11:335-342) found that glucosamine and chondroitan greatly improved cartilage’s response to both chemical and structural stress.
Glucosamine and chondroitan supplements can offer protection to the joint and can improve healing after injury. Supplementation can be of value to performance athletes.