Even more interesting than the results of this study on glucosamine and chondroitin for arthritis pain is the spin on the reporting. Here are the numbers:
Sixty percent who took the dummy medication had reduced pain compared with 64 percent who took glucosamine, 65 percent who took chondroitin and 67 percent who took the combo pills...
The drug Celebrex did reduce pain - 70 percent reported improvement - affirming the study's validity...
Of the 354 people with moderate to severe pain, 79 percent who took both supplements reported relief compared with 54 percent who took the dummy pills and 69 percent who took Celebrex.
Now, looking at that you might think "ah, the conclusion to be drawn is that glucosamine and chondroitin are about as effective as Celebrex for reducing pain in general, and more effective for moderate to severe pain, but neither is much more effective than a placebo for mild pain".
But yet the AP article's headline is "Study: Supplements Fail to Ease Arthritis", and it claims "[t]he arthritis research is the third major study in a year to find no overall benefit from some of the most popular nutritional supplements". The New England Journal of Medicine's website summary is "glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate were not more effective, alone or in combination, than placebo in controlling pain in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee," without a comparison to Celebrex.
Could the bias be related to the fact that 11 researchers in the study received funding from either Pfizer or McNeil Consumer & Specialty Pharmaceuticals (makers of Tylenol)?
I posted on vegetarian glucosamine a while back. No vegetarian source of chondroitin yet to my knowledge.