Glucosamine/Chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (GAIT)
With the ever increasing interest on how to overcome the limitations of living with osteoarthritis, particularly with two major prescription drugs (Vioxx and Bextra) removed from the market, two long-anticipated major clinical studies have recently found that Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate work better than common pain killers.
The “GAIT”(Glucosamine/Chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial), after five years of recruiting, testing and analyzing, reported that the combination of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate is effective in treating moderate to severe pain due to osteoarthritis.
Under the direction of the NIH (National Institutes of Health), one of the world’s foremost medical research centers, 13 highly prestigious research universities in the United States performed this randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled, parallel assignment efficacy study on over 1,500 osteoarthritis sufferers. For 24 weeks, each participant was given a daily dose of either:
–some combination of both
–200 mg of the prescription painkiller Celebrex®
–or a placebo
All patients’ pain levels were evaluated at the beginning of the study and again at the end of the four weeks. The Glucosamine and Chondroitin combination was found to significantly reduce pain compared to placebo AND Celebrex® (celecoxib), using the WOMAC Pain Index (Western Ontario and McMaster Osteoarthritis Index). This study was done using taxpayer’s, not manufacturers, dollars.
Glucosamine Unum-in-Die Efficacy (GUIDE)
At about the same time the University based GAIT study results were released in the United States, an independent Hospital based European study (known as the GUIDE study) released its results. They too, showed the extraordinary benefits of glucosamine.
The Glucosamine Unum-in-Die (Once a Day) Efficacy (GUIDE) Trial reported that glucosamine might be the preferred symptomatic medication in osteoarthritis. Dr Herrero-Beaumont of the Fundacíón Jiménez Díaz in Madrid, found glucosamine to be more effective than acetaminophen for joint discomfort in a multicenter, randomized, placebo- and reference-controlled, double-blind study. This means the study was done at multiple hospitals, randomized to prevent bias, tested against both placebo and real medications and the doctors did not know who was getting the placebo or the glucosamine. This was an extraordinarily well designed, multimillion dollar study and the results speak for themselves.
The GUIDE trial took place in 13 different European hospitals and compared a 1,500mg daily dose of glucosamine and a much larger 3,000 mg dose of the OTC drug Acetaminophen (commonly found in Tylenol, Excedrin, and many others) to a placebo in 318 patients. After 24 weeks of monitoring osteoarthritis sufferers, the study clearly showed superior effectiveness of the glucosamine dietary supplement (even at half the dosage of acetaminophen) on many levels of discomfort and mobility. The study confirmed that glucosamine was shown to be more effective than the most commonly used pain reliever, acetaminophen!
What does this mean for me?
It has taken over five years for the official results of these well designed studies to finally scientifically prove the effectiveness of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate. Now that glucosamine and chondroitin in combination has been shown to work at least as well as Celebrex or NSAIDS, with a far better safety profile, the question remains – what brand is the best?
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