Osteoarthritis (OA) affects cartilage, the slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones in a joint. As we age, cartilage begins to break down and wear away. This allows bones to rub together, eventually causing inflammation and pain. A new study from Australia provided preliminary evidence that physical activity in combination with glucosamine supplementation may reduce OA symptoms among people with hip or knee OA.
Thirty-six low activity subjects, aged 42 to 73 years, with mild to moderate OA of the hip or knee were given 1,500 mg of glucosamine sulfate per day for 6 weeks. At week 7, they begin a 12-week progressive walking regimen while continuing glucosamine supplementation.
The participants were instructed to walk 3 or 5 days per week, and gradually increase step level of walking from 3,000 steps a day during the first 6 weeks of walking to 6,000 steps a day for the next 6 weeks. During the initial 6 weeks of glucosamine supplementation only, physical activity levels and total WOMAC scores were significantly improved. Further improvements were seen at 24 weeks follow-up, although most improvements in these outcomes were seen between weeks 6 and 12 of the walking program.
The study concluded that “in people with hip or knee osteoarthritis, walking a minimum of 3,000 steps (approximately 30 minutes), at least 3 days per week, in combination with glucosamine sulfate, may reduce osteoarthritis symptoms. A more robust study with a larger sample is needed to support these preliminary findings.”