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J Altern Complement Med. 2014 Jun;20(6):479-85. doi: 10.1089/acm.2013.0323. Epub 2014 Apr 16.

Associations between glucosamine and chondroitin supplement use and biomarkers of systemic inflammation.

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1 Public Health Sciences Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Program , Seattle, WA.



Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties in both in vitro studies and animal models; however, little is known about these relationships in humans. The VITamins and Lifestyle (VITAL) biomarker study evaluated the associations between use of these supplements and a panel of circulating inflammatory biomarkers.


Study participants included 217 men and women age 50-75 years living in the Seattle metropolitan area. Use of glucosamine and chondroitin supplements was ascertained by home interview/supplement inventory. Inflammation was assessed by using blood and urine collected at the time of home interview. Measures of systemic inflammation included plasma high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, IL-8, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, soluble TNF receptors I and II, and urinary prostaglandin E2-metabolite (PGE-M). Multivariate-adjusted linear regression was used to evaluate the associations between supplement use and biomarkers of inflammation.


High users (14 or more pills/week) of chondroitin had 36% lower hsCRP (ratio, 0.64; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.39-1.04; p for trend=.03) and 27% lower PGE-M (ratio, 0.73; 95% CI, 0.5-0.98; p for trend=.07) than nonusers. Compared with nonusers, high users of glucosamine had 28% lower hsCRP (ratio, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.47-1.08; p for trend=.09) and 24% lower PGE-M (ratio, 0.76; 95% CI, 0.59-0.97; p for trend=0.10). Use of glucosamine and chondroitin supplements was not associated with the other markers of inflammation.


These results support prior research suggesting that use of glucosamine and chondroitin is associated with reduced hsCRP and PGE2, but further work is needed to more definitively evaluate the anti-inflammatory potential of these supplements.

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