U.S. consumers spent $753 million in 2012 on supplements of glucosamine and chondroitin in an attempt to relieve pain and stiffness from arthritis, according to the Nutrition Business Journal. But the scientific jury is still out as to whether those products work. And on top of that, our new tests of 16 widely sold joint supplements found that some contained less chondroitin than they said they did, and two didn’t dissolve sufficiently.
All of the tested products contain a combination of glucosamine salt (either hydrochloride or sulfate) and chondroitin sulfate, ingredients that occur naturally in and around the cartilage that cushions the joints. Some research has suggested that the combination might reduce pain in certain people with osteoarthritis, the degenerative joint disease that affects 27 million Americans. But the evidence is far from conclusive.
CR is being kind. If you take these products or use them for your pet (a growing market), take a look at this report. Not only are the ingredients in “dietary supplements” iffy to begin with, they may not be in there at all. And, most importantly, even the best produced products may not even work. Even though some research suggests they work to relieve pain, that can be unrelated to the product. The flip side of that is MOST research shows they do not work. Play the odds, save your money. They are unreliable, ineffective, and have no known mechanism to work.