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In biochemistry, chondroitin is a "mucopolysaccharide constituent of chondrin."[1]

Clinical studies

Chondroitin has been studied as a treatment for osteoarthritis. A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials found no benefit.[2] This meta-analysis included the GAIT randomized controlled trial of Clegg et al that was sponsorered by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.[3] A longer followup of the GAIT show no benefit from sodium chondroitin on reduction in loss of joint space width.[4]

Two more recent trials are positive. A trial sponsored by the manufacturer reports less loss of joint space with chondroitins 4 and 6.[5] A trial by authors who have received fees from industry suggested benefit for patients with arthritis of the hand.[6]

Selected randomized controlled trials of chondroitin
Trial Patients Intervention Outcome Results
Chondroitin Placebo
1583 patients with knee osteoarthritis 1200 mg of chondroitin sulfate daily Response of 20% decrease in WOMAC pain score[7] at 24 weeks All subjects: 65%
Mild OA: 67%
Moderate/severe OA: 61%‡
All subjects: 60%
Mild OA: 62%
Moderate/severe OA: 54%
1583 patients with knee osteoarthritis 1200 mg of chondroitin sulfate daily Loss of joint space width at two years 0.107 mm 0.166 mm
Sponsored by manufacturer and trial registration not provided
622 patients with knee osteoarthritis
32% dropped out
800 mg of chondroitin sulfate daily Loss at minimum joint space width
Used last observation carried forward for dropouts
0.07 mm† 0.31 mm
† p < 0.05
‡ All comparisons were insignificant and less than occurred with celecoxib; however, the combination of glucosamine hydrochloride and chondroitin gave significant 79% improvement among moderate/severe patients. However, longer follow-up of GAIT showed the combination group tended to have the most loss of joint space.[4]


  1. Anonymous (2020), Chondroitin (English). Medical Subject Headings. U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  2. Reichenbach S, Sterchi R, Scherer M, et al (2007). "Meta-analysis: chondroitin for osteoarthritis of the knee or hip". Ann. Intern. Med. 146 (8): 580-90. PMID 17438317[e]
  3. 3.0 3.1 Clegg DO, Reda DJ, Harris CL, et al (February 2006). "Glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and the two in combination for painful knee osteoarthritis". N. Engl. J. Med. 354 (8): 795–808. DOI:10.1056/NEJMoa052771. PMID 16495392. Research Blogging.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Sawitzke AD, Shi H, Finco MF, et al (October 2008). "The effect of glucosamine and/or chondroitin sulfate on the progression of knee osteoarthritis: a report from the glucosamine/chondroitin arthritis intervention trial". Arthritis Rheum. 58 (10): 3183–91. DOI:10.1002/art.23973. PMID 18821708. Research Blogging.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Kahan A, Uebelhart D, De Vathaire F, Delmas PD, Reginster JY (February 2009). "Long-term effects of chondroitins 4 and 6 sulfate on knee osteoarthritis: The study on osteoarthritis progression prevention, a two-year, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial". Arthritis Rheum. 60 (2): 524–33. DOI:10.1002/art.24255. PMID 19180484. Research Blogging. Trial registration not provided. Summary at
  6. Gabay C, Medinger-Sadowski C, Gascon D, Kolo F, Finckh A (2011). "Symptomatic effects of chondroitin 4 and chondroitin 6 sulfate on hand osteoarthritis: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial at a single center.". Arthritis Rheum 63 (11): 3383-91. DOI:10.1002/art.30574. PMID 21898340. Research Blogging.
  7. Bellamy N, Buchanan WW, Goldsmith CH, Campbell J, Stitt LW (December 1988). "Validation study of WOMAC: a health status instrument for measuring clinically important patient relevant outcomes to antirheumatic drug therapy in patients with osteoarthritis of the hip or knee". J. Rheumatol. 15 (12): 1833–40. PMID 3068365[e]