Osteoarthritis Resources and Blog

Does Glucosamine Work?

By on June 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

Does Glucosamine Work For Osteoarthritis? 

Do Supplements Work?

There are a number of supplements that claim to be beneficial for the treatment of Osteoarthritis. However, there is very little medical evidence to support most of the claims with the exception of vitamins as a part of a healthy diet and Glucosamine Sulphate.  Many of the companies are free to make any claims they choose with marketing etc. because in the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not review products listed as “supplements”.  The two most common supplements for Osteoarthritis which do have some evidence to support their use to relieve pain are Glucosamine and Chondroitin.

What Is Glucosamine and Chondroitin?

Glucosamine and Chondroitin are substances naturally found in healthy cartilage in joints and have been shown to be effective in relieving pain in some studies.

Glucosamine is available in three different preparations:

  • Glucosamine Sulphate
  • Glucosamine Hydrochloride
  • Glucosamine NAS

Only Glucosamine Sulphate along with Chondroitin has been shown to be effective in reducing pain and symptoms.  However, people who have an allergy to shellfish should not use either product.

They may need to be taken for several weeks to a number of months before any pain and symptomatic relief is apparent.  During this period it is important to continue taking the product to maximize benefits.

The particular brand is very important in providing benefit to patients.  Recently, Consumer Reportsdid a review on Glucosamine Sulphate/Chondroitin.  The review warned that many brands did not accurately list the amount of Glucosamine in the product and also rated numerous brands on cost/value.  In the review, the Vitamin World’s “Joint Soother Double Strength Glucosamine Chondroitin” brand was rated by Consumer Reports as one of the best brands because of its purity and accuracy in listing the amount of Glucosamine in the product.  In addition, the Vitamin World’s “Joint Soother Double Strength Glucosamine Chondroitin” was also rated as one of the top values based on price.  For convenience, here is a link to find Vitamin World’s “Joint Soother” Double Strength Glucosamine and other related products.  It is important to remember that a company can make any claim it chooses on how much Glucosamine is in the bottle etc. so use a reputable brand.


Other Supplements-Commonly used but with little evidence to support their use to treat OA:

  • Omega-3 fatty acid-unsaturated fat fatty acids commonly found in fish
  • Selenium
  • Vitamin B9 (folate) and B12
  • Vitamin D
  • Antioxidants-including vitamins C and E
  • Ginger extract
  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein 6 (BMP-6)
  • Avocado/soybean extract
  • Frankincense-derived from specific trees in India
  • Bromelain-enzymes found in the Bromeliaceae family of plants
  • Hydrolyzed collagen (hydrolysate) (a gelatin product)

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