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NIH-Sponsored Trial Shows Supplements Relieve Arthritis Pain

Study of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Demonstrates Benefit for Osteoarthritis Patients

—Promising News for 21 Million Osteoarthritis Sufferers in U.S.—

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 13, 2005 ­­ — The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) said today osteoarthritis patients should welcome the results of a new clinical trial sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that showed that the combined use of two dietary supplements—glucosamine and chondroitin—provided significant pain relief for sufferers of the joint disease that afflicts tens of millions of Americans.

The Glucosamine/chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (GAIT) adds to a growing body of scientific evidence showing that the two supplements can safely alleviate pain from osteoarthritis, a chronic condition known as the “wear-and-tear” kind of arthritis that afflicts 21 million Americans each year. Sixty-six million Americans—nearly one in 3 adults—have various forms of arthritis, the leading cause of disability among Americans over age 15, according to the Arthritis Foundation.

The six-month 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. GAIT found that a combination of the two supplements “is effective in treating moderate to severe knee pain due to osteoarthritis.”

The new findings are consistent with the vast majority of more than 50 published clinical trials that have demonstrated the safety and benefit of the two supplements, said Andrew Shao, Ph.D., CRN’s vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs. “This gold-standard NIH-sponsored study adds to the strong body of human clinical trials that supports the use of glucosamine and chondroitin for significant and long-lasting relief of joint pain and improvements in mobility,” Dr. Shao said. “The body of science demonstrates that these supplements are both safe and beneficial for joint health.”

In other research, preliminary results from a 24-week clinical trial in Europe—Glucosamine Unum in Die Efficacy (GUIDE) Trial—found that glucosamine sulfate was more effective in relieving osteoarthritis pain than the pain medicine acetaminophen.

Results of both the GAIT and GUIDE studies are being presented this week at the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) in San Diego and abstracts are posted on ACR’s website:

Commenting from the ACR meeting, Dr. Shao said research also suggests that glucosamine and chondroitin may similarly help others at risk for osteoarthritis or those who are experiencing joint discomfort, including athletes involved in high-impact sports such as basketball or running.

“We believe that the results from this well-executed NIH-sponsored study not only indicate that more research is needed to determine the full potential of glucosamine and chondroitin, but also reconfirm that these supplements can help the growing number of Americans with joint problems reduce the pain of osteoarthritis,” he said.

The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), founded in 1973, is a Washington, D.C.-based trade association representing dietary supplement industry ingredient suppliers and manufacturers. CRN members adhere to a strong code of ethics, comply with dosage limits and manufacture dietary supplements to high quality standards under good manufacturing practices. For more information visit the CRN website

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