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Side Effects of Glucosamine and Chondroitin

In addition to the findings of NIH's GAIT Study, Dr. Theo's experience with the public also indicates a high interest in the positive effects of Glucosamine and Chondroitin. From over a million visitors to our website pages on these subjects and with an estimated 15,000 e-mails received, only 107 reported negative side effects. Of course, these side effects may be due to something besides the supplements, but we track this information to look for trends. If a trend is noted, thiss is added to a clinical study to see if the finding was causative, or just due to chance. Based on national sales figures, millions of people rely on glucosamine/chondroitin in the US and about 100 million people world-wide.

It should be noted that in every clinical study and review article, glucosamine/chondroitin and ASU have been associated with increased adverse effects compared to placebo.

Here is a breakdown of those reporting side effects:

# of Cases Reported Problem
27 Indigestion
18 Excessive gas
14 Elevated cholesterol
10 Constipation
12 High blood pressure (linked to a products with high sodium)
10 Rash
8 Headache
5 Diarrhea
5 Itching
3 Elevated blood sugar
2 Lowered cholesterol
1 Low blood sugar




Funny smell (also occurs with Bextra)

1 Improved vision



Note: Just because someone reports a side effect does not mean the supplement caused the problem. People not taking any drug or supplements can experience these problems and often do. The purpose of this anecdotal reporting is to monitor and report any trends.

FDA Reported Side Effects

Below are side-effects reported to the FDA concerning products containing glucosamine and/or chondroitin.

Note: The side effects reported here may be due to substances other than glucosamine and/or chondroitin, especially for those products that have multiple active ingredients. Furthermore, the FDA's reports are not designed to exclude coincidental side effects. If someone trips and falls, did their glucosamine cause it?

ARMS Number Adverse Event as Reported Name of Product Manufacturer Ingredients
Hepatitis range levels of SGOT and PT in blood Arthritin VAXA International Inc DL-methionine, glucosamine sulfate, GLA, mucopolysaccharides, perna canaliculus, boswellia serrata, DL-phenylalanine, chondroitin sulfate, shark cartilage, willow, tanacetum parthenium, others
Chin laceration and broken ankle from falling Glucosamine Sulfate Now Foods glucosamine sulfate
Developed dermatomyositis Glucosamine Pacific Research Distributors coenzyme Q-10, glutathione reduced, ?, N-acetylcysteine, pycnogenol, taurine, ?, vitamin B2, copper, zinc, manganese
Diffuse pulmonary hemorrhage Joint Fuel Twin Labs Inc glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, chelated zinc picolinate, chelated manganese gluconate, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, turmeric extract, quercetin, bromelain
Pancreatitis Arthaffect with Arthred Reliv Inc arthred, glucosamine sulfate, ginkgo biloba, borage oil, turmeric, boswellia serrata, ashwagandha, cat's claw, sarsaparilla root, licorice root, burdock root, barley grass, echinacea, yucca, devil's claw, bilberry, capsicum, aloe vera, bioperine, others
Developed nodule on wrist Glucosamine Windmill Consumer Products glucosamine
Developed nodule on wrist Chondroigen Sulfate (Chondroitin Sulfate?) Windmill Consumer Products chondroitin sulfate
Edema, difficulty breathing Glucoamine and Chondroitin Amerifit vitamin C, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, glucosamine hydrochloride, chondroitin sulfate, citrus bioflavonoids, microcrystalline cellulose, croscarmellose sodium, vegetable stearic acid, vegetable magnesium stearate, pharmaceutical glaze
Developed heart problems Glucosamine 500mg Basic glucosamine
Developed heart problems Chondroitin Sulfate 400mg Basic chondroitin sulfate

For more detailed information concerning this data, please visit


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