Joint health


IN recent years, both Glucosamine & chondroitin supplements have gained such a following that the US authorities have undertaken the largest-ever clinical study on Glucosamine & chondroitin to test its effectiveness. Full details of the trial have been published in the New England Medical Journal (Feb 23, 2006).


The GAIT trial is described as “the most rigorous trial to date assessing the effects of Glucosamine & chondroitin on knee pain associated with osteoarthritis (OA)”. The GAIT trial has shown that these two supplements in combination are even more effective in treating moderate-to-severe OA knee pain than Celecoxib, a COX-2 inhibitor (an anti-inflammatory drug).

The trial was funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH) – the primary US Federal agency for conducting and supporting medical research – in Bethesda, Maryland. This trial was a six-month, double-blind, five-arm, placebo-controlled involving 1,583 patients with symptomatic OA of the knee.

Over the period, every day patients were given either glucosamine (1500mg); chondroitin (1200mg); Glucosamine & chondroitin combined; Celecoxib 200mg; or placebo (dummy).

The findings from the GAIT trial made it clear that Glucosamine & chondroitin when taken together in combination is even more effective than taking Celecoxib – in those with moderate-to-severe arthritis of the knee.


Most people with OA do not nourish their cartilage. One needs to supply essential nutrients such as Glucosamine & chondroitin for the body to build strong, flexible cartilage. Having a strong flexible cartilage is the first step for healthy joints.

Glucosamine & chondroitin sulphate are substances found naturally in the body, but less is produced as we age. An insufficient supply of Glucosamine & chondroitin restricts the efficiency of cartilage rebuilding and can delay repair of cartilage and other connective tissues.

The daily dosage used in GAIT trial was 1500mg glucosamine together with 1200 mg chondroitin. However for chondroitin, five other reputable clinical trials have found that taking 800mg of chondroitin will work just as well as 1200mg to ease pain and improve mobility of joints.

Supplementation with Glucosamine & chondroitin helps to:

  • Build and repair cartilage
  • Protect existing cartilage from premature breakdown
  • Lubricate joints
  • Decrease joint pain and stiffness
  • Slow progression of OA
  • Improve ease of movement

When looking for joint health supplements, it makes good sense to look for a synergistic formula combining 375mg of

sodium-free glucosamine together with 200mg chondroitin, which will give you 1500mg of glucosamine and 800mg of chondroitin respectively when 2 capsules are taken twice daily.

The amount of salt that we eat has a direct effect on our blood pressure. Hence, sodium-free glucosamine is preferred by people concerned about high blood pressure because it is processed with potassium chloride rather than sodium chloride (table salt).

It has to be noted that the study used glucosamine hydrochloride and not glucosamine sulphate, which is a more prevalent form of glucosamine used in dietary supplements. The study subjects received glucosamine hydrochloride; they were not obtaining joint-protecting benefits conferred by the sulphur compound in the “sulphate” part of the glucosamine compound. The anti-arthritis benefits of sulphur are very well documented.