Frequently Asked Questions
14. Can glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate relieve symptoms of osteoarthritis?
For some people, glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate may help relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Scientific studies have shown that these supplements may have some benefit for people with osteoarthritis. However, the effectiveness of these supplements is still under investigation.
The NIH-funded the Glucosamine and Chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial, or GAIT, tested whether or not glucosamine and/or chondroitin have a beneficial effect for people with knee osteoarthritis. The results of the four-year study indicated that these supplements did not provide significant relief from osteoarthritis pain among all participants. However, a smaller subgroup of study participants with moderate-to-severe pain showed significant relief with the combined supplements. A long-term GAIT study revealed that subjects who took the supplements (alone or in combination) had outcomes similar to those experienced by patients who took an NSAID or a placebo pill.