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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Pharmacology - Physiology - Public Health and Epidemiology - Rheumatology

Who Uses Glucosamine and Why? A Study of 266,848 Australians Aged 45 Years and Older
Published: Monday, July 30, 2012
Author: David Sibbritt et al.

by David Sibbritt, Jon Adams, Chi-Wai Lui, Alex Broom, Jonathan Wardle

Objectives

There has been a dramatic increase in the use of complementary medicines over recent decades. Glucosamine is one of the most commonly used complementary medicines in Western societies. An understanding of glucosamine consumption is of significance for public health and future health promotion. This paper, drawing upon the largest dataset to date with regards to glucosamine use (n?=?266,844), examines the use and users of glucosamine amongst a sample of older Australians.

Design

Analysis of the self-reported data on use of glucosamine, demographics and health status as extracted from the dataset of the 45 and Up Study, which is the largest study of healthy ageing ever undertaken in the Southern Hemisphere involving over 265,000 participants aged 45 and over.

Results

Analysis reveals that 58,630 (22.0%) participants reported using glucosamine in the 4 weeks prior to the survey. Use was higher for those who were female, non-smokers, residing in inner/outer regional areas, with higher income and private health insurance. Of all the health conditions examined only osteoarthritis was positively associated with use of glucosamine, while cancer, heart attack or angina and other heart disease were all negatively associated with glucosamine use.

Conclusions

This study suggests that a considerable proportion of the Australia population aged 45 and over consume glucosamine. There is a need for health care practitioners to enquire with their patients about their use of glucosamine and for further attention to be directed to providing good quality information for patients and providers with regards to glucosamine products.

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