Straight Talk

Some Straight Talk about Glucosamine in the U.S.

In most European countries, Glucosamine requires a prescription

That’s right. In a great many European countries you have to present a medical prescription in order to purchase a Glucosamine product. Yet in the United States, Glucosamine is sold in retail outlets of all kinds. From grocery stores; health food outlets; sporting goods stores; and, many other places you can purchase Glucosamine over the counter.

Of course, there is more to the European model than meets the eye. What you likely do not know is this. U.S. companies that sell prescription drugs for arthritis in the United States are often trying to “minimize” the benefits of using it. At the same time, those same companies are selling their Glucosamine products in Europe. How ironic.

How about some straight talk about Glucosamine?

We know and understand how you could be confused about the benefits of Glucosamine. After all, there are things about the Glucosamine industry that are confusing. Let me explain.

Pills and capsules have been the traditional way that Glucosamine has been marketing and sold. And, most of you at one point in time or another tried it. Some had some success with it; others did not at all. That’s understandable.

Pills and capsules are notorious for not containing the stated amounts of ingredients on the label. And, if you don’t get the Glucosamine then you don’t get results. That all changed when Synflex® liquid Glucosamine came on the market internationally in 2001. 

The ingredients you got if you tried this product were exactly as stated. Make no mistake about it. And, the feedback from those who tried it was amazing. Enough said. It made a huge mark in the Glucosamine industry and it still does. But, let’s take a look at some of the underlying reasons that you hear rumblings about Glucosamine not being as great as you thought. This is very revealing. And to do that, let’s talk about a doctor with vision and courage. He wrote a book  that set the world on its ear. It sold millions of copies in multiple languages.

Say “hello” to Dr. Jason Theodosakis

“The Arthritis Cure” is the book in question and it is an amazing study and narrative about just how beneficial Glucosamine is for arthritis sufferers. In that book, Dr. Theodosakis talks about how the “big gun” pharmaceutical companies go to great lengths to discredit clinical studies involving Glucosamine. Of course, we all know why. They have more expensive prescription drugs they want you to take for arthritis. You bet they do. And, all of them with serious side effects. What you may not know is that these same companies have their (own) Glucosamine products that they sell only in Europe!

This was the U.S. Government’s response to “The Arthritis Cure”

In 1999, the United States Government announced that they were going to fund a study of Glucosamine to settle the issue once and for all. It was called the GAIT study. The study itself involved a large number of individuals who had knee pain. (The exact number is 1,833) To be exact, the total of participants in GAIT 1 was 1,588 individuals.

In 2006, the initial GAIT report was issued

When the initial report was issued, it confirmed that those suffering from severe pain in the knee (or knees) had benefited from the use of Glucosamine and Chondroitin. In fact, Glucosamine and Chondroitin performed as well as or better than Celebrex®. (Celecoxib) Celebrex® is of course, a more expensive prescription medication.

Of interest, the report seemed to say that those with “moderate arthritis pain” did not benefit from the use of Glucosamine and Chondroitin. Now, ask yourself this question. How could those who suffered from severe knee pain benefit but not those with “moderate” arthritis pain?

That is not all that was flawed. Let’s take a look at things that were a little suspect.

GAIT Part 1 involved 1,588 patients with Osteoarthritis. This group was divided five groups and each was assigned a different regimen.

  1. Placebo only (A “fake’ medication)
  2. Chondroitin
  3. Glucosamine
  4. A combination of both Glucosamine and Chondroitin
  5. (Prescription) Celebrex

In summary, Glucodamine and Chondroitin out performed the prescription medication, Celebrex. That in and of itself is amazing.


GAIT –  Part 2


After the GAIT 1 study was published, the federal government performed a “more abbreviated study” called GAIT-Part 2..


This study had only 357 subjects and covered only  a six-month time span. So, it was flawed for two reasons. First of all, it lacked a large enough study group. Second, this study was obviously too  short. In the most useful X-ray studies from earlier clinical work, the studies  focused on subjects longer than two years. Subjects  who took Glucosamine  became impossible to measure in terms of how much space they lost between their knees was seemed insignificant.

Joint Space Width (JSW) was clearly supposed to be measured and it could not be done given the time constraints.

What did the GAIT 1 researchers find?

In GAIT 1  they found that Joint Space  Widths were narrowed using Glucosamine. (The narrower the widths, the greater the amount of  cartilage between the joints) Pain  and function of the joints were also supposed to be assessed in GAIT 1. And, the amount of rescue medication was neededn for participants required for pain. (Acetaminophen) As we said, they had only six months for their  limited study  and X-rays could not be used to measure JSW. And, it ran only six months as opposed to eighteen months for GAIT 1.

GAIT  1 found that those taking Glucosamine only nearly ended their Joint Space Lost. That was a remarkable find.

GAIT 2 also  did not analyze the use of rescue medication either. It was supposed to do that and the reason was this.

Acetominophen has been considered a health hazard so if less was needed, that was important. Unfortunately, it did not get done. Even is low doses, Acetominophen even in low doses has been demonstrated to double blood pressure in women. Acetominophen is also considered the number one reason for liver failure per the CDC. (Centers for Disease Control)

And, there is this “suspicious” thing about GAIT 2

Dr. Daniel  Clegg was a lead investigator in both GAIT 2 and GAIT 2. Now, when he was working on the first study he disclosed that “he had a relationship with Pfizer (Celebrex) and McNeil (acetominophen). Both drugs were used in both GAIT 1 and GAIT 2. In the latter study, he did not even mention his relationship. That is not the way it is supposed to work. Obviously.

So, why was the GAIT study initiated?

“The Arthritis Cure” was published in 1997. And, that best seller obviously triggered a government response because in 1998, it was announced. And, here is why we know this is true.

Dr. Theodosakis offered in his book that Glucosamine and Chondroitin would offer hope for relieving pain and disability. Obviously, the National Institute of Health (NIH) wanted to either confirm his theories or to disprove them. In fact, the study confirmed that his theories were correct.

Are you suffering from Osteoarthritis? (OA)

It is interesting but a very large number of individuals do not even know if they suffer from OA.  There was a clinical study conducted that found those in the study had zero symptoms of their joint problems yet over 95% of them on X-ray demonstrated Osteoarthritis. And, these individuals were all over 55 years of age.

So, the moral of the story is that you may in fact have OA and not even know it. 

It is always a good idea to get some evidence of arthritis and to begin dealing with it accordingly. Usually, a simple X-ray will reveal this medical issue easily. And, once you know you have a need to address it, you are smart enough to do so.


Like most medical issues in life, they tend to just appear. And, those who are living a healthy lifestyle will know that they have to be proactive to overcome these issues.