and Chondroitin

Glucomine and Chondroitin

Richard A. Feely, D.O. FAAO, FCA, FAAMA

The New York Times columnist Jane Brody’s dog had arthritis. She brought him to the vet who gave the dog supplements containing glucosomine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate.

After a few months of taking the supplements the 13 year old spaniel had a dramatic improvement. He is now is free of pain and stiffness, walks two hours a day, easily goes up and down stairs and climbs mountain roads.

Jane Brody also had arthritis in the knees. She limped, had difficulty with stairs, and with playing tennis. She wondered whether what her spaniel took would also help her. She decided to try it. After a year of taking glucosomine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate she is not totally pain free but neither is she disabled. Jane Brody now plays singles tennis two to four times a week, skates four or five times a week, and takes brisk 3 miles walks. With glucosomine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate her knees do not swell and are no longer stiff despite her X-rays showing advanced arthritis in the knee.

Jane Brody and her spaniel are not alone in being helped by glucosomine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate. There are many testminonials on the effectiveness of these two supplements. There is also scientific research to back up the results that many people are experiencing.

In a study involving 606 patients with arthritis it was found that after 6 weeks glucosomine sulfate was as effective as ibuprofen. 37% patients who took ibuprofen had adverse drug reactions. On the other hand, glucosomine sulfate was well tolerated with only 7% of the patients showing side effects. (1)

In another study conducted in Austria, 61 patients with osteorarthritis of the hip, knee, or finger joints took part in a 3 month experiment with chondroitin sulfate. After the 3 months 72% reduced their drug therapy. At the beginning of the study the patients suffered from overall severe pain which decreased significantly by the end of the study. Again there were no serious side effects. (2)

In this experiment the researchers wanted to determine the effectiveness of chondroitin sulfate in comparison with a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug (diclofenac sodium) in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee. 146 patients with arthritis of the knee took part in this randomized, double blind study.

The results showed that patients in the drug group showed a prompt reduction of symptoms, which, however, reappeared after the treatment ended. On the other hand, in the chondroitin sulfate group, the therapeutic response appeared later in time but lasted for up to 3 months after the end of treatment.

The researchers conclude that chondroitin sulfate seems to have a slow but gradually increasing effectivness in osteoarthritis and that these benefits last for a longer period. (3)

Dr. Amal Das, an orthopedic surgeon in North Carolina has done a study with about 100 patients who were treated for six months with both glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate. “We found the combination of 1,500 milligrams glucosamine and 1,200 milligrams of chondroitin daily to be effective for treating the pain of mild to moderate arthritis confirmed by X-ray,” he said.

Does glucosomine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate help everyone? In a study on knee osteoarthrits glucomine sulfate was injected in the muscles twice a week for six weeks. 55% of the 155 patients who received glucomine sulfate responded positively to the injection. They had a significant reduction in pain. (4) So it does not help everyone especially when the cartilage is worn out and cannot be rebuilt.


1. Clinical research in osteoarthritis: design and results of short-term and long-term trials with disease-modifiting drugs. Author: Rovati LC. Int J Tissue React (SWITZERLAND) 14:243-251; 1992.

2. Results of a multicenter study of chondroitin sulfate (Condrosulf) use in arthroses of the finger, knee and hip joints. Leeb BF, Petera P, Neumann K. Wien Med Wochenschr 1996;146(24):609-614

3. Comparison of the antiinflammatory efficacy of chondroitin sulfate and diclofenac sodium in patients with knee osteoarthritis. Morreale P, Manopulo R, Galati M, Boccanera L, Saponati G, Bocchi L

4. Efficacy and safety of intramuscular glucosamine sulfate in osteoarthritis of the knee. A randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind study. Reichelt A, Forster KK, Fischer M, Rovati LC, Setnikar I. Arzneimittelforschung 1994 Jan;44(1):75-80

Page modified on 5/15/2011

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