Vitamins for joint care

I was in a pharmacy looking at the array of vitamins that claim to help keep joints healthy, such as Glucosamine Sulphate. Does anyone know if these actually work? I have a knee injury which I am looking after and wondered if they can help but am a bit sceptical. Does anyone else use them and what do you think? Not worth the money? Can't hurt so worth a try?


  • Have a look at this BMJ article


    Our findings indicate that glucosamine, chondroitin, and their combination do not result in a relevant reduction of joint pain nor affect joint space narrowing compared with placebo. Some patients, however, are convinced that these preparations are beneficial, which might be because of the natural course of osteoarthritis, regression to the mean, or the placebo effect. We are confident that neither of the preparations is dangerous. Therefore, we see no harm in having patients continue these preparations as long as they perceive a benefit and cover the costs of treatment themselves. Coverage of costs by health authorities or health insurers for these preparations and novel prescriptions to patients who have not received other treatments should be discouraged. 


  • I am told there is no scientific proof that they work but I have been taking Glucosamine for around 3 years and would not stop now. It might me in the mind, but Im convinced they work.

  • I've heard mixed reviews of glucosamine, generaly science types say its pointless, has no scientific basis but others often users or even some GPs will advise it so its really something you need to try yourself and if you don't find it helps after about 2 weeks don't bother getting any more. If your not sure if you've noticed any difference, you haven't noticed any difference- stop taking it and keep a diary, see if you notice the difference if you want to try this out a few times. This works if you have pain already you notice and you can monitor it but if you have no pain I'd hasten to say "if it aint broke, don't fix it!"


    I'd suggest getting a quality version if you are going to try it as I know with some vitamins that the quality issue does make a difference, with omega 3 oils for example it has been tested and scientificly backed up that bad quality omega 3 oils have very little benefit and the good quality stuff is what makes the difference.


    I take omega 3 oils and also a calcium plus vitamin D pill. I take the latter because I already have a condition which means I need to take calcium every day for the rest of my life and vitamin D is required for the body to absorb it properly. With Omega 3 oils I take them because of the health benefits but also because I've noticed when I do take it my back pain reduces.


    When you take pills for your joints it can take about 2 weeks for the results show so don't expect results right away.

  • I've read a fair bit about this, in trials the benefits seem about the same as a placebo. Personally, I think you should save your money, but if you try them and they work then why not. I took them for 6 months after suffering from knee problems and my knees got better - but I think they would have got better anyway. I changed shoes and replaced one weekly run with a cycle, my legs got stronger and I haven't had a single injury in two years - that's a first for me!

    I wrote a short article on this, here:

  • Paul J-RPaul J-R ✭✭✭

    Vicky, from the age of 19 to 37 I always had running knee problems and during that time tried to run every few years only to give it up again. At 37 I wanted to run a half marathon and spoke to some runners for advise. I finally decided to take a holistic approach that consisted of the following:

    1) Saw a physio that gave me stability exercises and stretches to do.

    2) Lost some weight by improving diet and cross training / swimming.

    3) Took 3 grams of Glucosamine a day, from a health food shop!

    4) Started strength training, such as squats, deadlifts, core workouts and much more.  I used a book called "How to Run" by Paula Radcliffe.

    I am now 39 and in the last year and a half I have done 4 marathons (PB 3:21) and lots of 10k races (PB 38:46).

    I can't say Glucosamine works, as I made 4 changes all at once, but something sure worked very well and I believe they all probably played a part.

  • Paul - would be interesting to know if you stopped taking it, or if you continue to do so?

  • Paul J-RPaul J-R ✭✭✭


    I cut it down to weekly or whenever I remembered to take it.  Although whether there is a link here I don't know because I'm a very different person to what I was a couple of years ago.  I'm stronger, flexible and have better stability, whereas before I was lazy and drank too much.

    I'm making an effort to take it every day again because this year I've had trouble with my achilles - in fact the problem started roughly a few months after I stopped taking it regularly.  So if Glucosamine did help my knee then hopefully it will help my achilles too but that could take weeks/months before I notice any difference.

  • It's strange because you appear to have the same issues that I did. I had knee problems for a long time, I strengthened my legs and changed shoes and the knee problems went away, but now I have achilles issues. I do a lot of hill running now because of where I live and wonder if that's the achilles issue, I've found yoga really helps (I'm going to stop shamless plugging of my website - but there is a yoga post on there with some videos). I always blame injuries on being very tall and therefore quite heavy.

  • I know of 2 cases where glucosamine had a dramatic and beneficial effect.

    1. My father who suffered from chronic hip pain in his late 60s. His doc said it was something he'd have to put up with as it was just degenerative pending it getting really bad and then they'd look to surgery. Someone suggested he try glucosamine to relieve it a bit. He did and was amazed. Within a few weeks the pain had gone and he has not had symptoms back since and is now at the ripe old age of 89!

    2. Another friend in his 30s suffered from knee pain and was givebn periodic cortisone injections to relieve it but these affected his mood and he hated having them. Based on my Dad's experience I suggested he gave the glucosamine a go too. Same result.

    I personally take them as a runner for preventative reasons only. I can't personally prove it works but these 2 personal cases were convincing enough for me.

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