NEJM Study Shows Supplements Relieve Mild Forms of Arthritis

Study’s overall findings positive for sufferers of osteoarthritis; Popular over-the-counter supplements found to provide significant pain relief

WASHINGTON, DC (February 23, 2006) - A study published in today’s edition of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) suggesting that two very popular supplements— glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate—provide significant pain relief is very positive news for thousands of arthritis sufferers, according to one of the dietary supplement industry’s leading trade associations, the National Nutritional Foods Association (NNFA).

Despite negative reports surrounding NEJM’s article, overall findings of NIH GAIT study indicate that both supplements actually work better than the prescribed Celebrex (celecoxib) in effectively reducing moderate to severe pain from the most common forms of arthritis.

“The NEJM’s findings that two popular supplements actually work better than a popular prescription medication underscore what millions of consumers already know. That is, natural products and dietary supplements, when used properly, hold great potential for improving health and well-being,” said Daniel Fabricant, Ph.D., NNFA’s vice president of science and quality assurance. “The combination of glucosamine and chondroitin demonstrates efficacy and safety beyond that of the pharmaceutical intervention, and consumers should take notice of this good news.”

The Arthritis Foundation estimates that more than 66 million Americans live with chronic joint symptoms and nearly 23 million people live with symptoms but have not been diagnosed by a doctor. At least five million Americans use the two supplements studied either alone or together, government figures show.

Significantly, the NIH GAIT study concluded that glucosamine and chondroitin are effective in helping people who suffer the most from osteoarthritis, those who experience moderate to extreme pain.

An estimated 187 million American adults take dietary supplements. A majority of supplement users recently polled cite the most prevalent reason for taking supplements is to improve their overall health and well being.

“This study is further proof that dietary supplements can play an integral role in consumer’s daily lifestyle and overall health,” said Fabricant. “Arthritis is one of the most prevalent chronic health problems in today’s society, and with the use of certain dietary supplements, consumers can empower themselves to lead healthier and more productive lives, while potentially reducing health care costs to the U.S. health care system and reliance on prescription medications.”

The six-month NIH GAIT study involved 1,500 osteoarthritis patients who were given a placebo or daily doses of 1,500/mg of glucosamine hydrochloride and/or 1,200 mg of chondroitin sulfate or 200 mg of the common prescription pain medication celecoxib

Daniel Fabricant, Ph.D., is the new vice president of scientific affairs for NNFA. An expert in dietary supplements for women’s health, sports nutrition, and quality analysis of botanical products, Fabricant comes to NNFA with more than a decade of research and practical experience with natural products.

About NNFA
NNFA ( ) is the nation's largest and oldest non-profit organization dedicated to the natural products industry. NNFA represents more than 8,000 retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors of natural products including foods, dietary supplements, and health and beauty aids. In addition to offices in Washington D.C. and Newport Beach , Calif. , NNFA also has seven regional offices throughout the United States and is governed by a 22-member board of directors representing all segments of industry.

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