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Glucosamine Chondroitin for Weight Loss

author image Haylee Foster
Haylee Foster has been writing health and fitness articles since 1999. She received prenatal fitness certification from Desert Southwest Fitness in 2001 and has also given presentations on women's and children's health and prenatal fitness. She has a Bachelor of Science in lifestyle management with an emphasis in fitness and nutrition from Weber State University.
Glucosamine Chondroitin for Weight Loss
Feet standing on a scale Photo Credit adrian825/iStock/Getty Images

In 2001 weight-loss supplement sales were at $4.7 billion and motivation is high within this industry to keep customers coming back for more.Glucosamine and chondroitin have been used for years as alternative treatment for joint pain, but some claim glucosamine may help with weight loss as well, and weight-loss pills using glucosamine have been on the market. Although research results are promising for the possibility that glucosamine and chondroitin may promote joint health, there is no research showing they might be helpful for weight loss. With any supplements, it’s important to speak with your doctor before taking anything to be sure it is safe for you.


No clinical studies are available that have tested glucosamine or chondroitin, or a combination of the two chemicals, for weight loss. There is no evidence that glucosamine and chondroitin cause weight loss. On the contrary, glucosamine is a simple sugar and, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, it may cause insulin to work less effectively resulting in a buildup of sugars in the blood. Diabetics will need to keep a close eye on their blood sugars.

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Identification of Glucosamine

Often made from shellfish, glucosamine is a dietary supplement that can also be made synthetically in a lab and is commonly used for the treatment of osteoarthritis. The most studied form of glucosamine is glucosamine sulfate and though there are other forms out there, it is the compound with the highest degree of success. Glucosamine sulfate exists in the fluid around joints and may help to slow the progression of osteoarthritis.

Identification of Chondroitin

Chondroitin is a dietary supplement that is made synthetically and normally exists in the connective tissues that cushions joints, such as the knee. It absorbs fluid into the connective tissues and helps to block enzymes that break down cartilage as well as providing chemicals needed to build new cartilage. Chondroitin has also been used for the treatment of osteoarthritis.


Though glucosamine and chondroitin have been used for years to treat osteoarthritis, the results of studies have been mixed. The largest study undertaken measuring the effects of glucosamine and chondroitin for osteoarthritis was called the Glucosamine/Chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial, or GAIT. Their results were somewhat contradictory. Over the course of four years it found there was no significant relief of symptoms or slowing of disease for osteoarthritis patients when reviewing all patients as a whole. However, when reviewing a subgroup of patients who had moderate to severe osteoarthritis, there was a significant improvement. Their synopsis was that for patients with moderate to severe osteoarthritis a supplement of glucosamine and chondroitin may help.


Claims that glucosamine and chondroitin will block insulin, allowing for weight loss, are exaggerated. In 2003 the FTC charged Slim Down Solution, LLC, for making false claims when marketing a diet product containing D-glucosamine, or glucosamine sulphate. Their claim that glucosamine can bind to fat and cause it to be removed as waste was unfounded. Miraculous weight loss claims for any product should be viewed skeptically and with consideration of what the manufacturer has to gain from such claims.

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