Glucosamine / chondroitin sulfate

, medical expert
Last reviewed: 19.10.2021

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Main functions:

  • Used in the treatment of osteoarthritis.
  • Prevents the destruction of joints.
  • Restores tendons, ligaments, cartilages.

Theoretical basis

Glucosamine - an aminosugar synthesized in the body, plays an important role in the conservation and restoration of cartilage. It is believed that glucosamine stimulates cartilage cells to synthesize glycosaminoglycans and proteoglycans, which are the building material of cartilage. Glucosamines are reported to have anti-inflammatory properties, inhibiting the activity of proteolytic enzymes that contribute to the breakdown of cartilage. Chondroitin is also present in the cartilage and consists of their recurring glucose molecules.

Nutritional supplements of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate restores the damaged cartilage and stops the progression of osteoarthritis. Interest in glucosamine and chondroitin was caused by the books of Jason Theodorakis "The Arthritis Cure" and "Maximizing the Arthritis Cure".

Research results

Interest in glucosamine as a means of treating arthritis appeared in the early 80's of the XX century. Although the studies were short-lived, many patients reported experiencing pain relief and freedom of movement after taking 1.5 g of glucosamine per day, divided into doses.

To compare the suitability of using glucosamine in place of ibuprofen (non-steroid pro-inflammatory drug), a study was conducted in 40 patients with unilateral osteoarthritis of the knee. Patients were given either 1.5 g of glucosamine sulfate or 1.2 g of ibuprofen for eight weeks. During the first two weeks, the easing of pain was noted in the ibuprofen group, and in the next six weeks there was an exacerbation.

In the group with glucosamine sulfate, there was a progressive improvement throughout the period. The researchers reported that the discrepancies in the two treatment regimens were not statistically significant.

Further research is needed to determine the long-term symptomatic benefit of glucosamine, as well as to determine whether glucosamine can stop or inhibit the process of cartilage destruction and stimulate its growth.

It is shown that supplements are most effective in the early stages of arthritis or in the mild course of the disease and have almost no effect in severe current and neglected arthritis. Apparently, glucosamine can not repair cartilage if it is not enough (or not at all) in the joints. The information that glucosamine slows the action of anti-inflammatory or analgesic drugs, no. Preliminary animal experiments suggest that glucosamine can even protect against prolonged catabolic effects caused by some anti-inflammatory drugs.


Most of the studies on these compounds were short-lived. Arthritis is a chronic disease with periods of remission. To prove the usefulness and harmlessness of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, long-term controlled trials are required. The arthritic fund warns that those wishing to use these supplements should be well aware of the positive and negative consequences of taking supplements. In addition, the Arthritis Foundation advises patients to consult their physicians about including these supplements in the treatment plan. The arthritic fund also recommends not abandoning the tested methods of treatment for the sake of additives. Techniques that ease pain in arthritis and help cope with the disease include body weight control, exercises, appropriate medications, joint protection, the use of heat and cold, and (if necessary) surgery.

The arthritic fund also recalls that the results of some studies in animals have shown that glucosamine raises blood sugar levels. Therefore, diabetics who take glucosamine (aminosugar) should measure the blood sugar level more often than usual. Chondroitin is similar to heparin, so you should be careful before taking it, especially those who are already using blood thinners, or aspirin daily.

Translation Disclaimer: The original language of this article is Russian. For the convenience of users of the iLive portal who do not speak Russian, this article has been translated into the current language, but has not yet been verified by a native speaker who has the necessary qualifications for this. In this regard, we warn you that the translation of this article may be incorrect, may contain lexical, syntactic and grammatical errors.

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