Do glucosamine and chondroitin help with arthritis?

Mrs. Marjorie Nolan Cohn
Nutrition & Dietetics Specialist

The body naturally manufactures glucosamine and chondroitin, both of which promote joint health and support healthy joint movement. Glucosamine is thought to promote the formation and repair of cartilage while it is believed that chondroitin helps prevent the breakdown of cartilage. Glucosamine supplements are derived from shellfish shells; chondroitin supplements are generally made from cow cartilage. Because binge eaters have an added risk of joint damage from carrying excess weight, glucosamine chondroitin can be taken to restore joint health and to prevent further damage. Take as recommended on package with food/meal. Different brands and types vary in dosage and number of capsules or pills.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) in the National Institutes of Health initiated a study on the effectiveness of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate in reducing pain and improving function in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee.

Overall, glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate taken separately did not reduce pain. A combination of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate did reduce pain in patients with moderate-to-severe knee osteoarthritis. However, this subgroup of people who experienced this benefit was small enough that more study is needed to confirm the findings.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.