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Research Brief: Effects of Glucosamine on Arthritis
Osteoarthritis affects more than 20 million Americans and may double over the next 10 years.
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Pharmacological treatment of arthritic joint diseases such as NSAIDs and acetaminophen are aimed primarily at alleviating the symptoms and can have serious adverse effects associated with their long-term use, but do little to correct the underlying pathology.

is a dietary supplement shown to have significant clinical efficacy in patients with osteoarthritis and unlike drug treatment may correct the structural aspects of the joint. There has been little research into ways to enhance the effects of glucosamine, but omega 3 fatty acids represent a dietary component that could work in synergy with glucosamine. Omega 3 fats have widespread health-promoting effects, especially heart disease and diabetes. They reduce inflammation and therefore have therapeutic applications in a number of diseases that are associated with pro-inflammatory mechanisms such as arthritis and other joint-related diseases. 

German researchers performed the first clinical trial that examined the effects of a combination of glucosamine sulfate (1500 mg/day) alone and in combination with omega 3 fatty acids (600 mg EPA and DHA/day) in 177 patients with moderate to severe hip or knee osteoarthritis. After 26 weeks of supplementation both treatment groups experienced a high degree of efficacy. In respect to patients who showed a large reduction in pain (>80%), the combination group was more effective than glucosamine alone.  Combining glucosamine with omega 3 fatty acids is a preferred approach in the management of severe pain associated with osteoarthritis. 

Reference: Gruenwald J, Petzold E, Busch R, Petzold HP, Graubaum HJ. Effect of glucosamine sulfate with or without omega-3 fatty acids in patients with osteoarthritis. Adv Ther. 2009 Sep 4. [Epub ahead of print]