(HealthDay News) — Oral glucosamine supplementation is not associated with a decrease in knee cartilage deterioration among individuals with chronic knee pain, according to a study published online March 10 in Arthritis & Rheumatology.

C. Kent Kwoh, MD, from the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues randomized 201 participants with mild to moderate pain in one or both knees (Western Ontario and McMaster Universities pain score ≥25 and ≤100) to 24 weeks of treatment with 1,500mg glucosamine hydrochloride in beverage form or a placebo beverage. Cartilage damage in all knees was assessed on 3T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

The researchers found that, compared to the control group, the adjusted odds ratio (aOR) for decreased cartilage damage for any subregion scored with the Whole Organ Magnetic Resonance Imaging Score system was 0.938 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.528–1.666) in the glucosamine group. Controls showed more improvement in bone marrow lesions (BMLs; aOR, 0.537; 95% CI, 0.291–0.990), but no difference in worsening BMLs (aOR, 0.691; 95% CI, 0.410–1.166), compared to those treated. Glucosamine did not appear to decrease urinary C-terminal cross-linking telopeptide of type II collagen (CTX-II) excretion.

“This short-term study provided no evidence of structural benefits (i.e., MRI morphology or urinary CTX-II excretion) from glucosamine supplementation in individuals with chronic knee pain,” the authors write.

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