How Much Glucosamine Chondroitin Should You Take?

Learn how to use the supplement to manage osteoarthritis pain

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The dose of glucosamine chondroitin you should take for osteoarthritis usually starts higher and gets lower once your symptoms improve.

Glucosamine chondroitin is a supplement with two ingredients: glucosamine and chondroitin. Glucosamine is made from the shells of shellfish, while chondroitin comes from the windpipes (tracheas) of cows.

This article will cover how much glucosamine chondroitin you should take if you have arthritis, as well as what you should know about the possible side effects and risks of glucosamine chondroitin supplements.

How Much Glucosamine Chondroitin Should I Take?

The starting dose for most glucosamine chondroitin supplements is typically 1,500 milligrams (mg) of glucosamine and 1,200 mg of chondroitin daily for one to two months. If you start feeling better, you can reduce your dose to 1,000 mg of glucosamine and 800 mg of chondroitin per day.

However, before you start taking glucosamine chondroitin for osteoarthritis, you should know that the research on its benefits and dosing has not been definitive.

A 2006 study suggested that taking glucosamine alone or with chondroitin helped to relieve osteoarthritis pain in a group of people with moderate to severe knee osteoarthritis.

That said, not all experts currently recommend glucosamine chondroitin supplements because there has not been a lot of research since then that proves they work.

What Do Experts Recommend?

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons advises against using supplements like glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, and glucosamine hydrochloride to treat symptomatic knee osteoarthritis.

Glucosamine chondroitin and other supplements that are advertised to improve joint health can be confusing and misleading because these products do not have to go through the rigorous testing that pharmaceutical drugs do.

That means that the “recommended” dose of a glucosamine chondroitin supplement is not backed up by as much research evidence as a prescription medication would be.

If you take too little glucosamine chondroitin, you will not get the potential benefits and are probably wasting your money. If you take too much glucosamine chondroitin, you might be more likely to have side effects.

Is Glucosamine Chondroitin Safe for Me to Take?

Some people should not take a glucosamine chondroitin supplement, including:

You should always ask your healthcare provider before trying a new supplement—even one that's something you can buy OTC. There can be risks of taking supplements if you have certain health conditions or are taking other OTC or prescription medications.

Potential side effects of glucosamine chondroitin
Illustration by Cindy Chung, Verywell

Even if it's safe for you to take glucosamine chondroitin, you might still have side effects—especially if you're taking a high dose. Possible side effects of glucosamine chondroitin include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Stomach pain
  • Gas and bloating
  • Puffy eyes
  • Hair loss

Serious Side Effects of Glucosamine Chondroitin

There have been concerns that glucosamine chondroitin can cause more serious side effects, but the research has not been conclusive. For example:

  • Does glucosamine affect your blood pressure? Taking glucosamine might increase your blood pressure, but it might not. Some people in studies who took glucosamine saw their blood pressure go up. However, in other studies, people taking glucosamine did not have any changes in their blood pressure.
  • Can glucosamine cause liver damage? Glucosamine might change liver function but it's not clear if the supplement actually damages the liver. In some studies, people with chronic liver disease who took glucosamine supplements had some changes in their lab tests that looked at liver function.

When to Seek Medical Care

If you have been taking glucosamine chondroitin and experience sudden swelling in your legs, an irregular heartbeat, hives, shortness of breath, fast heartbeat, or swelling of the face, tongue, or throat, call 911 or go to your nearest ER.


Glucosamine chondroitin supplements may help with osteoarthritis pain, but the research has not been conclusive. It can be risky to take supplements because they are not regulated by the FDA, so you can't always be sure of how much of the active ingredients are in a product.

If you want to try using glucosamine chondroitin, talk to your provider. They can make sure that it would be safe for you to try it and help you figure out how much glucosamine chondroitin to take.

Usually, people start taking glucosamine chondroitin supplements at a higher dose and reduce how much they take once their arthritis symptoms start getting better.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Does glucosamine and chondroitin work for knee pain?

    Some research suggests that glucosamine chondroitin may help people who have knee pain.

    For example, a 2016 study of glucosamine and chondroitin found that the supplement helped to reduce pain, stiffness, functional limitations, and joint swelling as effectively as the prescription anti-inflammatory drug Celebrex (celecoxib).

  • Are glucosamine and chondroitin safe?

    Glucosamine and chondroitin are safe for most people as long as they are used according to the directions on the supplement label. 

    However, people who are allergic to shellfish should not take glucosamine and you should not take a glucosamine chondroitin supplement if you take a blood thinner Coumadin (warfarin) because it can raise your risk of bleeding.

  • Which foods are high in glucosamine?

    Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements are made from animal sources but not ones that you typically eat.

    The cartilage and bone marrow of certain animals—like the shells of shellfish and the windpipes of cows—are used to make glucosamine and chondroitin supplements.

9 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Clegg DO, Reda DJ, Harris CL, et al. Glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and the two in combination for painful knee osteoarthritis. N Engl J Med. 2006;354(8):795-808. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa052771

  3. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee.

  4. Dahmer S, Schiller RM. Glucosamine. Am Fam Physician. 2008;15;78(4):471.

  5. Danao-Camara T. Potential side effects of treatment with glucosamine and chondroitinArthritis Rheum. 2000;43(12):2853. doi:10.1002/1529-0131(200012)43:12<2853::aid-anr29>;2-r doi:10.1002/1529-0131(200012)43:12<2853::aid-anr29>;2-r

  6. Rozendaal RM, Koes BW, van Osch GJ, et al. Effect of glucosamine sulfate on hip osteoarthritis: a randomized trialAnn Intern Med. 2008;148(4):268-277. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-148-4-200802190-00005 doi:10.7326/0003-4819-148-4-200802190-00005

  7. Cerda C, Bruguera M, Parés A. Hepatotoxicity associated with glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate in patients with chronic liver diseaseWorld J Gastroenterol. 2013;19(32):5381-5384. doi:10.3748/wjg.v19.i32.5381 doi:10.3748/wjg.v19.i32.5381

  8. Hochberg MC, Martel-Pelletier J, Monfort J, et al; MOVES Investigation Group. Combined chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine for painful knee osteoarthritis: a multicentre, randomised, double-blind, non-inferiority trial versus celecoxib. Ann Rheum Dis. 2016;75(1):37-44. doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2014-206792

  9. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Glucosamine and Chondroitin for Osteoarthritis.

By Carol Eustice
Carol Eustice is a writer covering arthritis and chronic illness, who herself has been diagnosed with both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.