Regular use of glucosamine, chondroitin, or fish oil supplements reduces high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) by 16% to 22%, a marker of inflammation, according to a new study. Inflammation is now recognized as a factor in cancer and cardiovascular disease as well as many rheumatoid diseases. A number of over-the-counter dietary supplements are being marketed for the purpose of reducing inflammation, but data supporting the claims are limited.
In an article, published online in the American Journal of Epidemiology, the researchers report that regular use of glucosamine, chondroitin, or fish oil significantly reduced serum hs-CRP.
In participants who regularly used a supplement, the researchers found hs-CRP reductions of 17% with glucosamine, 22% with chondroitin, and 16% with fish oil compared with participants who did not take the supplements. The analyses were adjusted for age, gender, race, smoking history, and body mass index.
Effects Limited to Women
The anti-inflammatory effects of glucosamine and chondroitin in the overall study population were driven by effects in women. Effects in men were small and nonsignificant.
The supplements methylsulfonylmethane, garlic, ginkgo biloba, saw palmetto, and pycnogenol were not associated with reduced inflammation.
Am J Epidemiol. Published online November 8, 2012. Abstract