Glucosamine, Chondroitin Are Useless for Hip and Knee Arthritis

September 17, 2010 7:28 am 21 comments

The market for arthritis drugs is a powerful (46 million people) incentive to sell drug and supplements, and the pain of arthritris is a powerful incentive to take drugs and supplements. Now comes a large and persuasive study, actually a careful analysis of ten other studies involving nearly 4,000 people, that suggests that two of the most popular supplements, glucosamine and chondroitin, do nothing to relieve arthritis pain in knees and hips. Web MD reports that the government-funded Glucosamine/chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (GAIT)  showed that overall, the  two supplements did not improve hip or knee osteoarthritis (OA) pain. A follow-up arm of this study showed that they did not do any better than placebo in slowing loss of cartilage that occurs in osteoarthritis of the knee. OA is the wear-and-tear form of arthritis, and affects more than 20 million people. WebMD reports that a smaller subset of GAIT participants with moderate-to-severe OA pain, did get some relief with the combined supplements.

Read more from Web MD.


  • I disagree:
    I take Glucosamine and it works for me

  • I agree with George.

  • You are all idiots.

  • Speaking as an RN—there is an effect called the “placebo effect”, where if a person STRONGLY believes that x, y, or z will help him or cure him, it does in fact have a benecial result.
    However, when “double blind” tests are run by objective scientists or MD’s, no real long term physical change has taken place. In a double blind test, the drug or vitamin or herb is tested on a group of volunteers with the condition being studied. Neither the volunteers NOR the testers know which group is getting the “real” thing and which is getting the placebo or what used to be called “sugar water”.
    Sometimes the results of the test are so outstandingly positive the test is called off so everyone who needs that particular drug etc can have it/ vice versa, it can be called off early if the great majority have NO benefit.
    So, what they are saying here is that Glucosamine/Chondroitin MAY help some people feel better but it is not changing your joint damage.

  • I used them for years now I have 2 knees replace ED.

  • Bill said! Look at what you just read,and that will explain it all. Look!Government funded trial!! That said it! End of subject!!Have a Nice Day!


    All I know is that 15 years ago, I was very close to having to take disability retirement because of my arthritis. I started taking Glucosamine/Chondroitin twice daily. I took normal retirement 2 months ago. I’ll always beleive that it worked for me, my wife & my brother-in-law.

  • they work for me, better then vioxx, if of course you dont believe in it, or disagree, then dont use it,george is right tom is an idiot or yuppie which is worse

  • I agree, after spending way too much $ waiting years for replacements! Even the quasi-cartiledge injections @ $300/set only lasted 5-6 weeks. Nothing works like Zimmer parts.

  • byron D… I agree with Bill C. and will someone in these Ynited States please step up and say – I was one one who participated in that “gov funded ” study.

  • byron D… I agree with Bill C. and will someone in these Ynited States please step up and say – I was one one who participated in that “gov funded ” study.

  • Cartilage like bone is building back up breaking down at the same time. Glocosamine and chondroitin are, at least in theory, raw materials for building carilage. If their use could tilt the balance toward cartilage construction ever so slightly they would be useful supplements. None of the current research addresses this point(CT and MRI measurements would not be sensitive enough) so studies that attempt to characterize G and C as pain killers are beside the point.

  • I agree with George,
    I was in a great deal of pain in my knees . A friend recomended Glucosamine and I was desperate for anything that would relieve the pain so I tried it for 2- month’s 1- pill a day and nothing happened? so I stopped and I thought it was a bunch of hype.Then I was talking to a woman friend at a party and she said that she did not know how she would live with the pain in her hands if she did not have glucosamine to take? I told her I took it for 2-months and it did not do a thing for me! She then asked me how much I had been taking and I told her 1-tablet per day and she replied no wonder it did not work for you you are a big guy 240-lbs. you should at least be taking 2- tabs a day or more? I asked her how many she takes per day and she replied 5-tabs and she is around 138-lbs.That was in 2005 and I have continued with 2-tabs everyday. Now , I do not know what I would do if I could not take or use Glucosamine. DO not get me wrong. I sometimes still do have a pain here or there but it is not the constant pain that I was enduring and suffering before I started taking the Glucosamine.I think that if it works for you take it and if it does not stop but don’t judge the people who it seems to be working for in a negative way as they are only doing the best they can.
    Goodluck to all, Tom

  • I don’t know if it is effective or not in everyone, but it worked for me. I had scopes in both knees. Pain returned and I was ready for replacements. Took injections which did help. Took Cosamine religiously. No pain in two years. Can walk fine. I would agree it doesn’t work for everyone, but it is not my imagination that the pain is gone.

  • Here is THE telling statement of this whole inquiry:
    The market for arthritis drugs is a powerful (46 million people)
    THE MARKET IS BIG, and natural supplements take a BIG CHUNK out of the revenue stream that the big pharmas would LIKE to maintain.
    So … the (dis)information wars (based upon ‘studies’) continue……

  • I would like to tell my story. I was building a two story house and visiting the project I realize my legs started hurting when I was climbing the stairs to the second floor. A nurse friend of mine recommended to me to take the pills G&C and I did. The pain went away and I am still taking two a day. My dog, a 16 years old dalmata, started having problems when walking and I found at the pet supermarket a seniors dog food with this medicine and now he runs without problems. For me and my dog definitely worked.

  • My knees hurt me daily and I thought I’d read this and get some help! LOL, I am in the same boat now as when I started.

  • after 15 years of pain swelling and clicing as i walked up stairs. i went to the campell clinic were they told me to take Glucosamine/Chondroitin 3 pills a day its been 4 years no bone on bone clic, no swelling no pain. you can believe what you want. we all say ya or na but unless you try it you wont know

  • I think it may be the doseage that makes the difference. Single pill did not wokr for me either but when I switched to WELLESSE Joint Movenment Glucosamine ( a liquid that contains 2000 mg of glucosamine ,1200 mg. chondroitin, 500 mg. MSM and take 2 tablespoons aday.. and iot works very well. EASIER TO TAKE AND TASTE NOT BAD. My 2 cents and I give 1/2 tablespoon to the dog in her water and it works for her too and she is 16 yrs old… much improved…

  • I’ll have to tell my golden retriever with severe hip displasia that all the times he’s been been unable to walk without the glucosamine and able to walk with it, he’s been taking a placebo, and the pill didn’t really help him.

  • Are you planning on any replacement?

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