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I have heard conflicting views on how effective glucosamine is in treating joint problems. For example here you can see a claim being made about stimulating cartilage growth and curing arthritis.

Glucosamine Claims

  • Protect cartilage against damage from weight-bearing exercise
  • Slows cartilage breakdown
  • Stimulates cartilage growth
  • Cures arthritis

Is it simply a placebo drug?

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There are numerous conflicting studies regarding the efficacy of glucosamine in treating joint conditions. However, a recent meta-analysis (i.e. a study of studies) by the British Medical Journal suggests that it is no better than placebo for alleviating joint pain or for narrowing of joint spacing:

Compared with placebo, glucosamine, chondroitin, and their combination do not reduce joint pain or have an impact on narrowing of joint space. Health authorities and health insurers should not cover the costs of these preparations, and new prescriptions to patients who have not received treatment should be discouraged.

  • I am assuming that this study is about the effect on the human body. Would it be safe to assume that these results are also applicable on animals (e.g. horses?). – BaGi Jul 18 '12 at 7:50

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