Tested and True: Glucosamine and Chondroitin

Glucosamine (in sulfate form) is one of Consumer Reports “11 supplements to consider.”* The glucosamine used in supplements is typically derived from the shells of shrimp or crabs although a corn source is also available for vegans. Glucosamine is available in two primary chemical forms.  One is glucosamine hydrochloride and the other is glucosamine sulfate. Based on research, it appears that neither one is better than the other and thus can be said to be equally effective.  Chondroitin sulfate is generally derived from pig or cow cartilage, although shark and chicken cartilage has been used. A plant based chondroitin-like mucopolysaccharides made from algae is also available.


Glucosamine and Chondroitin: Claims and Purported Use

Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate occur naturally in the body. Supplementing the body’s natural production has produced the following claims: cure or alleviate arthritis pain, help build cartilage, cushion the joints and prevent the deterioration of cartilage.  Together, they are used to slow the progression of osteoarthritis (the deterioration of cartilage between joint bones) and to reduce the associated pain. A study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) called the Glucosamine/Chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (or GAIT study) found that the combination of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate seems to be effective in osteoarthritis patients with moderate to severe knee pain, although not those with mild pain. The following glucosamine and chondroitin products are tested and true.


Finest Natural Glucosamine Chondroitin

Finest Natural Glucosamine Chondroitin Double Strength Capsules, 120 ea

Nature Made Triple Flex

Nature Made TripleFlex Triple Strength, 170 Caplets

 Wellesse Joint Movement Glucosamine

Wellesse Joint Movement Glucosamine With Chondroitin & Msm 33.8 fl oz (1000 ml)

21st Century Triple Strength Glucosamine 750 mg Chondroitin 600 mg

21st Century Glucosamine 750 Chondroitin 600, Triple StrengthTablets, 300-Count

 Selected Potential Side Effects

When taken in appropriate amounts, glucoamine and chondroitin are generally regarded as safe for healthy people not taking other medications.  Glucosamine may cause gastrointestinal distress, drowsiness, skin reactions, and headache, while chondroitin may cause an upset stomach.

Selected Drug Interactions

Before starting any supplement for joint pain, it is advised to consult with a physician. Chondroitin combined with blood thinners may cause bleeding in some people.

Suggested Dosage

Usually about 1,500 mg of glucosamine and 1,200 mg of chondroitin is recommended for the initial daily dose for about three months to determine if beneficial effects occur. If beneficial effects to occur after three months, a user weighing over 200 pounds can maintain the same dosage.

A person under 200 pounds, however, can reduce dosage to 1,000 mg of glucosamine and 800mg of chondroitin.

Users under 125 pounds may even consider reducing dosage to 500 mg of glucosamine and 400 mg of chondroitin.

Reference Guide for Tested and True Dietary Supplements

Tested and True: Fish Oil

Tested and True: Krill Oil

Tested and True: Multivitamins

Tested and True: Vitamin D

Tested and True: Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ-10)

Tested and True: Glucosamine and Chondroitin

Tested and True: Probiotics

Tested and True: Muscle Enhancers – Creatine

Tested and True: Muscle Enhancers – Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)

Tested and True: Nutrition Bars

Tested and True: Nutrition Drinks & Powders

Tested and True: Weight Loss Accelerators and Appetite Controllers

Tested and True: Mood Booster SAM-e

Tested and True: Mood Booster St. Johns’ Wort

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*reference: Consumer Reports Health


About Dave Barnas, M.S., CES, NASM-CPT

Dave is the true health guy. He is the founder and owner of True Health Unlimited, LLC, a personal health and fitness company in Tolland, CT & Wellness Writers, a subscription wellness newsletter service that incorporates live & virtual wellness workshops for companies across New England. Dave earned both a Bachelor's (1998) and Master's Degree (2000) in Nutritional Science from the University of Connecticut, and also holds certifications as a National Strength and Conditioning Association Certified Personal Trainer, National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist, Aerobics and Fitness Association of America Group Instructor, and Nutrition Specialist. He's also the lead author for four published works. Dave has over 20 years of combined experience in nutrition counseling, dietary supplement advising, personal training, corrective exercise training, health coaching and public speaking. In addition, he's spent over 25 years studying spirituality, meditation, and personal growth strategies. Dave's clients are all ages: youth, college championship level athletes, folks in their retired years, and everywhere in between. He's worked with three of the nation's leading physicians as a dietary supplement advisor and been a guest lecturer at Harvard University, Yale University, UConn, St. Joseph College and various church groups, health clubs, and high schools. In 2013, he was invited to Whole Foods Market to share his Real Food Therapy Guide. And in 2015, Dave's funny "Snowga" (yoga in the snow) video caught the attention of The National Weather Channel, who aired it to shake off cabin fever and bring laughter. In 2016, Dave & Hollie (his wife) founded Wellness Writers and deliver evidence-based Wellness E-newsletters to spread a message of health and happiness to various businesses throughout the US. Dave currently serves as a personal trainer in Tolland as well as a wellness coach and writer for several businesses, gyms and wellness facilities throughout the US.

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