Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate have long been used for their ability to maintain cartilage structure. But, does glucosamine chondroitin work for knee pain?
As per studies, yes – taking glucosamine chondroitin can be effective for this. These dietary supplements may promote long-term relief from knee joint pain.
Below, we’ll discuss this in-depth. Here’s what we’ll cover – tap on any of the bullets to quickly navigate through the article:
- 2 ways glucosamine chondroitin helps knee pain
- Dose of glucosamine chondroitin
- Side effects of glucosamine and chondroitin
- Other supplements for knee pain
2 ways glucosamine chondroitin supplements help knee pain
These are compounds that are created from the glucose we get from our nutrition. They are building blocks that help keep a healthy joint structure.
However, in certain types of knee pain – like that from knee osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis -, our body may benefit from getting extra glucosamine and chondroitin in the form of supplements.
This is because this surplus can provide the following benefits:
1) It can provide pain relief and reduce swelling
Clinical trials have shown that glucosamine can reduce inflammation in joints like the knee. (1)
However, researchers don’t fully understand the exact mechanism in which this happens.
What they do know is that combining nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs with these supplements can boost their effectiveness, further reducing inflammation. (1)
The best of all is that the anti-inflammatory effects can be pretty quick.
For example, a study showed that people with knee swelling had less inflammation after 3 weeks of taking glucosamine chondroitin supplements. (2)
This can help optimize the management of inflammation in chronic diseases, as glucosamine chondroitin has fewer side effects and risks than NSAIDs.
This can be a strategy for long-term relief from moderate to severe pain in the knees.
Also, less swelling often means less pain. So, glucosamine chondroitin supplements may also help manage knee osteoarthritis pain with fewer side effects than pain killers.
2) It can prevent further cartilage degeneration in knee osteoarthritis
Our knee joints have to support a lot of weight on a daily basis. That makes them prone to wear and tear due to mechanical stress, causing knee osteoarthritis.
However, glucosamine supplements work by nurturing the cartilages in the knee joint. This tissue is a protective cushion that keeps our joints healthy and moving smoothly.
And, supplementing with glucosamine and chondroitin can delay this degenerative process. Thus protecting the knee joint, preventing cartilage loss, and helping lessen osteoarthritis pain. (1)
Further reading: How to treat knee osteoarthritis?
Recommended dietary intake of glucosamine chondroitin
The normal recommended dosage of glucosamine chondroitin for knee pain is:
- 1500 mg of either glucosamine hydrochloride or sulfate, and
- 1200 mg of chondroitin sulfate. (3)
This should be taken daily, either as a single dose or divided into 2 or 3 smaller doses per day.
So, you can choose to take a single 1500 mg pill of glucosamine once per day or 3 divided doses of 500 mg pill per day.
Learn more: Best dosage for glucosamine to treat knee pain
Side effects of glucosamine and chondroitin
Supplements of glucosamine and chondroitin are generally well-tolerated and have minimal side effects. But, some people may experience unwanted adverse effects.
The most common side effects of glucosamine chondroitin supplements include:
- Stomach issues, such as nausea, constipation, diarrhea, or heartburn.
- Can affect blood sugar levels, especially in diabetics.
- People taking blood thinners may have an increased risk of bleeding.
- Allergic reactions such as rashes may occur if you have shellfish allergies.
While these side effects are mild and usually only temporary, lower the dosage and talk with your doctor if they disrupt your daily activities.
This can help: 5 side effects of glucosamine and how to avoid them
Other supplements for knee pain
Apart from glucosamine chondroitin, other supplements for managing knee pain include:
- Curcumin – you can take this with glucosamine chondroitin with minimal risks or side effects. (1)
However, please remember that supplements are just an aid for knee pain.
To treat it successfully, you must identify the root cause of your symptoms. Going to a physical therapist can help you with that.
Further reading: Top 8 supplements for knee pain according to science
How long does it take for glucosamine and chondroitin to work?
Studies have shown that glucosamine chondroitin can take at least 8 days to 2 weeks to provide results. (3)
Does chondroitin glucosamine really work for knee pain?
Yes, when used as a supplementary therapy for knee pain.
Does glucosamine chondroitin rebuild cartilage?
Yes, glucosamine chondroitin can help rebuild cartilage. That’s why it can help treat osteoarthritis in the knee, for example.
How do glucosamine and chondroitin work?
They work by keeping the cartilage in the knee joint healthy. This in turn can help with pain management, joint stiffness, and swelling.
Conclusion: Can glucosamine chondroitin help knee pain?
Yes, glucosamine and chondroitin supplements can help ease knee pain.
They are a safe supplementary therapy that may rebuild deteriorated cartilage. They can also keep your joints healthy and strong.
Apart from their use in osteoarthritis knee pain, they are also effective for a number of other conditions – including rheumatoid arthritis.
- Richy, Florent, et al. “Structural and symptomatic efficacy of glucosamine and chondroitin in knee osteoarthritis: a comprehensive meta-analysis.” Archives of Internal Medicine163.13 (2003): 1514-1522.
- Reginster, Jean-Yves et al. “Current concepts in the therapeutic management of osteoarthritis with glucosamine.” Bulletin (Hospital for Joint Diseases (New York, N.Y.)) vol. 63,1-2 (2005): 31-6.
- Ogata, Toru et al. “Effects of glucosamine in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” Clinical rheumatology vol. 37,9 (2018): 2479-2487. doi:10.1007/s10067-018-4106-2