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Arthritis
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 432463, 13 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/432463
Review Article

Glucosamine for Osteoarthritis: Biological Effects, Clinical Efficacy, and Safety on Glucose Metabolism

1Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases Research Center, Faculty of Medicine, University of Zulia, Maracaibo 4004, Venezuela
2Institute of Clinical Immunology, University of Los Andes, Mérida 5101, Venezuela

Received 29 September 2013; Accepted 20 December 2013; Published 11 February 2014

Academic Editor: Jiri Vencovsky

Copyright © 2014 Juan Salazar et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Osteoarthritis is a chronic degenerative disorder that currently represents one of the main causes of disability within the elderly population and an important presenting complaint overall. The pathophysiologic basis of osteoarthritis entails a complex group of interactions among biochemical and mechanical factors that have been better characterized in light of a recent spike in research on the subject. This has led to an ongoing search for ideal therapeutic management schemes for these patients, where glucosamine is one of the most frequently used alternatives worldwide due to their chondroprotective properties and their long-term effects. Its use in the treatment of osteoarthritis is well established; yet despite being considered effective by many research groups, controversy surrounds their true effectiveness. This situation stems from several methodological aspects which hinder appropriate data analysis and comparison in this context, particularly regarding objectives and target variables. Similar difficulties surround the assessment of the potential ability of glucosamine formulations to alter glucose metabolism. Nevertheless, evidence supporting diabetogenesis by glucosamine remains scarce in humans, and to date, this association should be considered only a theoretical possibility.