Last Updated: September 9, 2023

Chondroitin is a naturally occurring glycosaminoglycan that is present in cartilage. It is frequently taken with glucosamine to help with joint pain and other symptoms of osteoarthritis.[2]

Chondroitin is most often used for

What is chondroitin?

Chondroitin is a glycosaminoglycan. It consists of long polysaccharide chains with a repeating disaccharide structure. Supplements are taken in the form of chondroitin sulfate. Chondroitin is found naturally in cartilage, where it helps prevent tissue breakdown and provides mechanical support for the joints.[3][4]

What are chondroitin’s main benefits?

Chondroitin is most commonly used to alleviate the symptoms of osteoarthritis, and is often taken with glucosamine. In people with osteoarthritis, chondroitin supplementation may help with pain and joint stiffness, and may slow down the progression of the disease. Despite its popularity as an osteoarthritis treatment, chondroitin is not consistently found to be helpful in research, with some studies finding no benefit.[5][6][4]

Chondroitin could be beneficial as an anti-aging supplement used for other degenerative diseases, not only osteoarthritis. Since it has anti-inflammatory properties, it could lower the risk of other aging-related conditions, like heart disease. An association has been found between chondroitin usage and longevity, as well as between chondroitin usage and a lower cardiovascular disease risk. However, there are many confounding factors to be accounted for, and more controlled trials are needed to support these findings.[7][8][9]

Chondroitin may also be used in people with recurrent bladder infections, or in those with interstitial cystitis, an inflammatory bladder condition. It is combined with hyaluronic acid and infused into the bladder, where it helps to restore the protective mucous layer of glycosaminoglycans.[10][11] The use of chondroitin supplements, alone or in combination with glucosamine, has been associated with a lowered risk of colorectal cancer in observational studies. It may have a similar impact on other types of cancer, such as lung cancer. However, more research needs to be done to confirm this and to find the appropriate dosages.[12][7]

What are chondroitin’s main drawbacks?

Chondroitin is considered safe; very few side effects are reported at the recommended dosages.[13][14]ref Occasionally, chondroitin sulfate supplements may cause mild gastrointestinal side effects, such as nausea or abdominal cramps.[15]

How does chondroitin work?

Chondroitin is hydrophilic and draws water into cells, which helps with hydration and with mechanical support in the joints. It also helps chondrocytes — the cells that make up cartilage — to regenerate more efficiently, and seems to slow down cell death in these cells. Chondroitin also has anti-inflammatory effects, inhibiting the expression of proinflammatory immune factors like interleukin-1 and prostaglandins, which may further help arthritis and other diseases of aging.[7][15]

What else is Chondroitin known as?
Note that Chondroitin is also known as:
  • Condrosulf (Brand Name)
  • Chondroitin sulfate
Dosage information

Dosage recommendations range from 800 mg–1200 mg per day. This may be taken as a single dose or in 2–3 400mg doses.[1]

Chondroitin is sometimes grouped with other medications like glucosamine and referred to as a SYSDOA — a symptomatic slow-acting drug for osteoarthritis.

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Update History
2023-09-09 00:30:04

Standard FAQ and database update


We updated this page's FAQs and database with a bunch of new meta-analyses. Additionally, the material in the "research breakdown" section was merged with our FAQs.

Written By

Reviewed By

  1. ^Bruyère O, Honvo G, Veronese N, Arden NK, Branco J, Curtis EM, Al-Daghri NM, Herrero-Beaumont G, Martel-Pelletier J, Pelletier JP, Rannou F, Rizzoli R, Roth R, Uebelhart D, Cooper C, Reginster JYAn updated algorithm recommendation for the management of knee osteoarthritis from the European Society for Clinical and Economic Aspects of Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases (ESCEO).Semin Arthritis Rheum.(2019-Dec)
  2. ^Westmoreland CA, Koke JR, Bittar NAMP stimulation of endocytotic transport from canine coronary circulation into myocytes.Cytobios.(1986)
  3. ^Pal D, Saha SChondroitin: a natural biomarker with immense biomedical applications.RSC Adv.(2019-Sep-03)
  4. ^Hochberg MCStructure-modifying effects of chondroitin sulfate in knee osteoarthritis: an updated meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials of 2-year duration.Osteoarthritis Cartilage.(2010-Jun)
  5. ^Zhu X, Sang L, Wu D, Rong J, Jiang LEffectiveness and safety of glucosamine and chondroitin for the treatment of osteoarthritis: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.J Orthop Surg Res.(2018-Jul-06)
  6. ^Articles of the Hungarian Medical Journal from November, 1991.Orv Hetil.(1991-Nov-03)
  7. ^Ewald CYDrug Screening Implicates Chondroitin Sulfate as a Potential Longevity Pill.Front Aging.(2021)
  8. ^Navarro SL, White E, Kantor ED, Zhang Y, Rho J, Song X, Milne GL, Lampe PD, Lampe JWRandomized trial of glucosamine and chondroitin supplementation on inflammation and oxidative stress biomarkers and plasma proteomics profiles in healthy humans.PLoS One.(2015)
  9. ^Liu B, Yang W, Zhang KRole of Glucosamine and Chondroitin in the Prevention of Cancer: A Meta-Analysis.Nutr Cancer.(2023)
  10. ^Damiano R, Cicione AThe role of sodium hyaluronate and sodium chondroitin sulphate in the management of bladder disease.Ther Adv Urol.(2011-Oct)
  11. ^Zhang W, Deng X, Liu C, Wang XIntravesical treatment for interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome: a network meta-analysis.Int Urogynecol J.(2017-Apr)
  12. ^Khan AA, Mannan V, Pervaiz MA, Akram A, Momin ES, Sanusi M, Kashyap T, Elshaikh AOThe Role of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate in the Prevention of Colorectal Cancer: A Systematic Review.Cureus.(2022-May)
  13. ^Dana E King, Jun XiangGlucosamine/Chondroitin and Mortality in a US NHANES CohortJ Am Board Fam Med.(Nov-Dec 2020)
  14. ^Hathcock JN, Shao ARisk assessment for glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate.Regul Toxicol Pharmacol.(2007-Feb)
  15. ^Brito R, Costa D, Dias C, Cruz P, Barros PChondroitin Sulfate Supplements for Osteoarthritis: A Critical Review.Cureus.(2023-Jun)
  16. ^Schiraldi C, Cimini D, De Rosa MProduction of chondroitin sulfate and chondroitin.Appl Microbiol Biotechnol.(2010-Jul)
  17. ^da Cunha AL, de Oliveira LG, Maia LF, de Oliveira LF, Michelacci YM, de Aguiar JAPharmaceutical grade chondroitin sulfate: Structural analysis and identification of contaminants in different commercial preparations.Carbohydr Polym.(2015-Dec-10)
Examine Database References
  1. Osteoarthritis Symptoms - Lee YH, Woo JH, Choi SJ, Ji JD, Song GGEffect of glucosamine or chondroitin sulfate on the osteoarthritis progression: a meta-analysis.Rheumatol Int.(2010-Jan)
  2. Osteoarthritis Symptoms - Hochberg MCStructure-modifying effects of chondroitin sulfate in knee osteoarthritis: an updated meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials of 2-year duration.Osteoarthritis Cartilage.(2010-Jun)
  3. Osteoarthritis Symptoms - Honvo G, Bruyère O, Geerinck A, Veronese N, Reginster JYEfficacy of Chondroitin Sulfate in Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis: A Comprehensive Meta-Analysis Exploring Inconsistencies in Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trials.Adv Ther.(2019-May)
  4. Osteoarthritis Symptoms - Xiaoqian Liu, Gustavo C Machado, Jillian P Eyles, Varshini Ravi, David J HunterDietary supplements for treating osteoarthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysisBr J Sports Med.(2018 Feb)