Q: I have lupus and was wondering if taking glucosamine would be beneficial. Any advice would be appreciated.
A: Glucosamine is an important component of cartilage that has been found to be effective in treating osteoarthritis. However, I am unaware of any research (or rationale) suggesting that glucosamine may be beneficial in treating lupus.
However, one natural approach that appears to help people with lupus is the use of fish oil supplements. MaxEPA is the best-researched formulation and is available under several brands. In both animal and human studies, fish oils have been found to be beneficial.
The best study to date compared the effectiveness of taking 20 grams a day of MaxEPA or 20 grams of olive oil. Patients with active systemic lupus received each oil one at a time and the results were compared. Neither the patients nor their doctors knew which oil they were taking at any given time. The full study lasted 34 weeks; 17 people completed the study.
The results were striking. Fourteen of the patients achieved “useful” or “ideal” clinical status while talking fish oil, while 13 of them were unchanged or even worse while on olive oil.
While there were no major side effects from fish oil in the study, I suggest that you first discuss taking fish oil with your doctor. Taking at least 100 international units a day of vitamin E is also advisable if you try fish oil supplements.