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Thu Dec 20, 2007 4:28 pm

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From Fahey Supplement Research column in Muscular Development magazine

Small Effects of Glucosamine on Knee Rehabilitation
The knee is the most commonly injured joint in athletes. Highly motivated athletes will do anything to get back to the gym or playing field. Glucosamine enhances cartilage metabolism, so many athletes take the supplement to speed recovery from knee injuries. A Serbian study of 106 athletes recovering from knee injuries found that 1500 mg per day had no effect on recovery rate, swelling, or pain during rehabilitation but increased range of motion slightly. Other studies have not supported the effectiveness of glucosamine for improving joint pain. German researchers concluded that chondroitin does not decrease pain or improve mobility in people suffering from knee or hip arthritis. They pooled the results of 20 studies on chondroitin using a research technique called meta-analysis. The studies involved 3846 patients. Many of these people had severe arthritis, so chondroitin may help those with more mild forms of the disease. A previous meta-analysis, however, showed that the combination of glucosamine and chondroitin (JAMA 283: 1469-1475, 2007) reduced joint pain and improved joint health, so we have a lot to learn about the effectiveness of these supplements. Glucosamine-chondroitin supplement sales exceeded $1 billion last year, so a lot is riding on these studies.
(Research in Sports Medicine 15: 113-124, 2007; Annals Internal Medicine146: 580-590, 2007)

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Thomas Fahey
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California State University, Chico
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Thu Dec 20, 2007 11:24 pm

 
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Thanks for the extract, Tom.

I can't argue with the conclusions of these studies, but I'm taking my glucosamine/chondroitin/MSM pills daily anyway as I recover from ACL surgery. BTW, I got permission yesterday to toss my brace!

Now it's a six-week countdown to the day I begin slow jogging.

Apparently, the danger for ACL patients is that they stretch their new tissue (in my case a patellar tendon graft from a 37-year-old man) before it's properly healed (and revascularized). This can take six months.

And good news from my quadriceps test yesterday: I exerted 144 pounds pressure with my "good" leg and 103 pounds with my bad leg. But having a bad quad at 70 percent strength of one's good is considered "way above the curve" after six weeks, I'm told.

In any case, I'll be a good boy, and follow therapist's orders.

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