One of the most exciting possibilities with glucosamine and some of the other osteoarthritis treatments is the possibility that they can protect cartilage from damage, actually altering the course of the disease. Such a “chondroprotective agent” would be a major advance over all standard treatments.As we have already said, glucosamine is both a raw material for the production of proteoglycans, and it also seems to be able to stimulate the production of new proteoglycans and collagen. This might give the body a boost in delaying the joint destruction of osteoarthritis.Furthermore, recent evidence suggests that glucosamine can also inhibit the enzymes responsible for breaking down cartilage. This would mean that it was working from both sides, as it were, to prevent the joints from deteriorating.Unfortunately, we do not yet have any direct evidence that glucosamine really slows down osteoarthritis. What we really need are long-term studies comparing the X-ray evidence of joint damage in two groups of subjects: the first given glucosamine, the second given placebo. Until such studies are performed, the promise of chondroprotection with glucosamine will remain only a promise.*36/306/5*

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