Remember when glucosamine and chondroitin were all the rage as the miracle supplements for joint pain sufferers? A landmark meta-analysis of 10 placebo-controlled trials, which appeared in the September 16, 2010, issue of the British Medical Journal, has perhaps closed the chapter—or even the book—on whether these substances actually help arthritis sufferers.

“Our findings indicate that glucosamine, chondroitin and their combination do not result in a relevant reduction of joint pain nor affect joint-space narrowing compared with placebo. . . . We believe it unlikely that future trials will show a clinically relevant benefit of any of the evaluated preparations,” concluded Peter Jüni, MD, of the University of Bern in Swizerland, and his colleagues.

Despite the strong stance that this research will put an end to any debate, another study—possibly even more definitive—is already underway. Look for results later this year from the Long-Term Evaluation of Glucosamine Sulphate (LEGS) study, which is testing the glucosamine-chondroitin combination in 600 arthritis patients.