CDU researcher discovers way to ease joint pain


Dr Marcus Sanders

Dr Marcus Sanders

An over-the-counter supplement could be nature’s weapon in the battle against debilitating joint pain, according to a ground-breaking study by a Charles Darwin University student. 

One in six Australians - or approximately 3.9 million people - suffer from rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, which can cause incredible pain and limits movement. It is expected that this will rise to 5.4 million by 2030.

PhD graduate Dr Marcus Sanders said the research was the first to provide evidence linking glucosamine, previously used to help manage osteoarthritis, to treating rheumatoid joint pain. 

“Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition resulting from the ‘wear and tear’ of joints, whereas rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that inflames the joints throughout the body,” Dr Sanders said.

“It’s astonishing to think no-one has linked glucosamine – an antioxidant – to treating rheumatoid arthritis, which in essence is caused by the autoimmune-mediated oxidation of one’s joints.”

Dr Sanders began the research after discovering an obscure paper written by a research team from Japan making the logical link. 

“This is the first time in Australia where we have found evidence that glucosamine may be beneficial in the treatment of this world-wide condition,” he said.

Dr Sanders surveyed a group of men and women aged 25 to 83 suffering rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis finding that 100 percent of those taking glucosamine for more than six months reported a dramatic reduction in pain and greatly improved movement and functionality.

“Participants taking 1500mg daily over 12 months reported less pain and improvement in joint function by up to five points on the 1-10 scale. Importantly, it took only six months for a noticeable difference.”

Dr Sanders, who is a Northern Territory police officer, will clinically test his life-changing conclusions in a laboratory later this year.

“The research will investigate different types of arthritis examining the antioxidant role of glucosamine and its efficacy given the oxidative stress associated with arthritis,” he said.

Dr Sanders will graduate at the May graduation ceremonies with his thesis titled:  ‘Consumer perception of the efficacy and tolerance of glucosamine in joint diseases’. 

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