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Chondroitin is a supplement frequently paired with Glucosamine as a combination therapy to help with joint pain and stiffness, and other symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Our evidence-based analysis on chondroitin features 13 unique references to scientific papers.

Research analysis led by Kamal Patel .
Reviewed by
Examine.com Team
Last Updated:

Summary of Chondroitin

Primary Information, Benefits, Effects, and Important Facts

Chondroitin is a supplement, frequently used in conjunction with glucosamine, to combat the symptoms of osteoarthritis (OA).

A recent surge of meta-analyses (studies researching other studies) found that most studies that showed benefit with chondroitin were poorly designed or subject to chance statistical error (due to low amount of participants). Larger studies (which are seen as more reliable) tend to show no benefits with chondroitin nor glucosamine supplementation in isolation or combined.

Although many people do report benefit from using this supplement (especially when paired with Glucosamine), the current body of scientific literature does not hold these two supplements in high regard.

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Things To Know & Note

Is a Form Of

Primary Function:

Also Known As

Condrosulf (Brand Name)

Goes Well With

Chondroitin is non-stimulatory.

How to Take Chondroitin

Recommended dosage, active amounts, other details

A standard dose of chondroitin, if chosen to supplement with, is in the range of 1000-1200mg a day in either one dose or two to three divided doses taken with food.

Frequently Asked Questions about Chondroitin

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Research Breakdown on Chondroitin

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Chondroitin sulfate is a glycosaminoglycan chain of alternating Uronic acids and D-N-acetyl-galactosamine molecules bound by 1,3 bonds.[1][2] They are produced in vivo to limited amounts and were initially extracted from animal sources, but are now industrially made via bacterial fermentation.[3]

Chondroitin supplementation is absorbed fairly well when taken orally.[2][4]

Chondroitin can be found circulating in subjects with no reported exposure to supplementation at a concentration ranging from 0.3µg/mL[5] up to 20.8µg/mL.[6]

Supplementation of 1,200mg chondroitin sulfate, alongside glucosamine (hydrochloride), has failed to significantly increase circulating chondroitin concentrations either acutely or after three months of supplementation.[6] This study did note that subjects had a baseline value of 20.8µg/mL chondroitin in one study arm[6] and other studies which note lower baseline levels (0.3µg/mL) observed that 4,000mg chondroitin can increase circulating levels up to 5.3µg/mL after 2-6 hours.[5]

Chondroitin appears to be eliminated primarily through the urine.[7]

Various studies have noted benefit with combined treatment of Glucosamine and Chondroitin.[8][9][10]

That being said, most recent meta-analyses indicate that the benefits gained from the combination or Chondroitin in isolation are not significantly different from placebo, and causation for improvement cannot be placed on the compounds themselves.[11][12][13] It is mentioned that most studies finding benefit separate from placebo either have poor study design or inadequate sample sizes, whereas larger scale studies note no difference.[11][13]

In effect, the scientific consensus of chondroitin at this time is one of uncertainty as it does not appear to be much different when compared to placebo.


  2. ^ a b Conte A, et al. Biochemical and pharmacokinetic aspects of oral treatment with chondroitin sulfate. Arzneimittelforschung. (1995)
  3. ^ Schiraldi C, Cimini D, De Rosa M. Production of chondroitin sulfate and chondroitin. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. (2010)
  4. ^ Conte A, et al. Metabolic fate of exogenous chondroitin sulfate in man. Arzneimittelforschung. (1991)
  5. ^ a b Volpi N. Oral bioavailability of chondroitin sulfate (Condrosulf) and its constituents in healthy male volunteers. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. (2002)
  6. ^ a b c Jackson CG1, et al. The human pharmacokinetics of oral ingestion of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate taken separately or in combination. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. (2010)
  7. ^ Ronca G, Conte A. Metabolic fate of partially depolymerized shark chondroitin sulfate in man. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res. (1993)
  8. ^ Deal CL, Moskowitz RW. Nutraceuticals as therapeutic agents in osteoarthritis. The role of glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and collagen hydrolysate. Rheum Dis Clin North Am. (1999)
  9. ^ Bruyere O, Reginster JY. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate as therapeutic agents for knee and hip osteoarthritis. Drugs Aging. (2007)
  10. ^ Black C, et al. The clinical effectiveness of glucosamine and chondroitin supplements in slowing or arresting progression of osteoarthritis of the knee: a systematic review and economic evaluation. Health Technol Assess. (2009)
  11. ^ a b Wandel S, et al. Effects of glucosamine, chondroitin, or placebo in patients with osteoarthritis of hip or knee: network meta-analysis. BMJ. (2010)
  12. ^ Reichenbach S, et al. Meta-analysis: chondroitin for osteoarthritis of the knee or hip. Ann Intern Med. (2007)
  13. ^ a b McAlindon TE, et al. Glucosamine and chondroitin for treatment of osteoarthritis: a systematic quality assessment and meta-analysis. JAMA. (2000)