Supplements Glucosamine/Chondroitin Don’t Work Any Better than a Sugar Pill

January 14, 2009

Dr. Donna Raditic’s column (“Nutraceutical News”) in the  Jan./Feb. 2009  of The Bark should be praised for emphasizing the point that “natural”is not always harmless. But I have to take issue with her very first recommendation: glucasamine and chondroitin supplements for ‘joint health.’


As the owner/guardian of two Labs and the spouse of an individual who suffered from hip dysplasia for 15 years and has had two hip replacements, I’ve learned a couple of things about these two supplements: they are enormously profitable for their distributors and their effectiveness is open to serious doubt.

The largest controlled clinical trial of glucasamine and chondroitin by the National Institutes of Health concluded that they don’t work any better than a sugar pill at halting the destruction of cartilage. The full report is available online from Arthritis & Rheumatism, the official monthly journal of the American College of Rheumatology, Sept. 29, 2008.


Dr. Ali Askari, chief of rheumatology at University Hospitals Case Medical Center, put it this way in discussing the study, “The bottom line is that there is no specific difference between the placebo and the glucosamine/chondroitin mix.”

The bottom line for concerned dog owners? Research your supplements carefully.


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