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Role In Arthritic Condition

  • Successful treatment of osteoarthritis must effectively control pain and should slow down or reverse progression of the disease. Biochemical and pharmacological data combined with animal and human studies demonstrate glucosamine sulfate is capable of satisfying these criteria. Glucosamine sulfate's primary biological role in halting or reversing joint degeneration appears to be directly due to its ability to act as an essential substrate for and to stimulate the biosynthesis of the glycosaminoglycans and the hyaluronic acid backbone needed for the formation of proteoglycans found in the structural matrix of joints4 . It is capable of stimulating proteoglycan synthesis, inhibiting the degradation of proteoglycans and stimulating the regeneration of cartilage after experimentally induced damage. Glucosamine sulfate also might promote incorporation of sulfur into cartilage.

  • There have been numerous studies into the therapeutic applications of glucosamine in the treatment of arthritis. It has been shown to have a positive influence in reducing the symptoms of arthritis as well as helping to rebuild cartilage. It can help to reduce pain, improve mobility and decrease swelling and stiffness without any adverse effects in majority of patients.

  • Karzel and Lee4 also reported glucosamine derivatives could influence the in vitro growth and metabolism of GAGs. Glucosamine promoted a significant increase in the GAGs in the extracellular cartilage matrix and induced an increase in the secretion of GAGs from the surface of the bone cells into the culture medium4.

  • Animal experiments indicate arthritic tissue has an increased demand for and uptake of total GAGs and monosulfated, highly-sulfated, and non-sulfated GAGs. Animal experiments have also indicated an increased incorporation of radioactive sulfate in specimens of bone and cartilage during the process  of 4 induced arthritis4 .

  • Tapadinhas et al4 noted that patients with arthritis of the shoulder or elbow responded the best (about  75% judged as “good” and only 1% judged as “insufficient”), while polyarticular arthritis and arthritis of the hip had the poorest response rate (43% and 49%, respectively) and might require longe treatment duration. Improvements remained 6-12 weeks following cessation of treatment regimen 4.

  • An open study on the effectiveness of glucosamine for arthritis was conducted by 252 doctors on 1183 patients. Patients were given 500 mg of  glucosamin orally three times per day for a period of 50.3 +/-14.4 (range 13-99) days4. The treatment was judged “effective” by doctors in 58.7% of the patients and as “sufficient” in an additional 36% of the patients (a total of almost 95% positive response to glucosamine). Results indicate that pain produced by  active and passive movement was reduced and symptoms of pain at rest, standing, and during exercise improved 4 steadily throughout the treatment period4 .