The latest round of European studies regarding the use of glucosamine is not surprising. While these studies focused on post-menopausal women, there are important findings for men as well.
The Post-Menopausal Woman
As many of you may not know, glucosamine is a "prescription medication" in some European countries. In these studies, glucosamine sulfate was used to determine what impact it had on women who were post-menopausal. We will discuss that further below.
It has been widely acknowledged that women over age 50 are prone to osteoarthritis of the knee. The researchers have speculated that this is caused by the loss of estrogen although there are no firm medical studies to confirm that fact. For purposes of this study, only women who had a diagnosis of osteoarthritis of the knee were studied. In this case study, 414 women were studied and most had entered menopause.
What these studies found was that the use of glucosamine helped build cartilage; slowed the progression of the OA; and, that symptoms were greatly diminished. That, in itself, is significant but not surprising. However, these studies also confirmed some other interesting facts.
Although x-ray imaging is not perfect, the researchers found that those taking glucosamine did not demonstrate further loss of cartilage. Those in the "placebo" group did. As well, those in the latter group got worse. As this study confirms, glucosamine not only stopped the disease from progressing, but as well, it possibly reversed it. (I might caution that this was a three-year study so don't expect miraculous x-ray results short term.)
Those who were not taking glucosamine experienced a result that was opposite of those that did. Namely, their stiffness and other symptoms progressed.
Capsules vs. Liquid
It should be of interest that this study used a "capsule-form" of glucosamine. As any regular reader of this column knows, I strongly advocate the use of the liquid form for its greater bio-availability and absorption into the body.
The Impact of this Study for Both Sexes
While this particular study focused on post-menopausal women (since post-menopausal women have a high incidence of OA in the knee) the importance of these findings apply to men as well. It is simply part of the growing acceptance within the medical community that glucosamine plays a major role in maintaining joint health.
As these researchers pointed out, not only did OA of the knee improve with the use of glucosamine, it also benefited all joints in the body.