What are the dangers of taking glucosamine chondroitin?

Updated July 19, 2017

Many people add glucosamine chondroitin to their diet as a nutritional supplement and to alleviate arthritis pain. As a supplement, the FDA doesn’t monitor its efficacy or side effects. Before you take glucosamine chondroitin, learn of the possible dangerous side effects.

Gastrointestinal upset

A commonly reported side effect of taking glucosamine chondroitin is gastrointestinal upset, including stomach ache, diarrhoea, indigestion and heartburn. These side effects are reversible upon stopping the supplement and are greatly decreased by taking glucosamine chondroitin with food or a meal.

Allergic reaction

People who are allergic to shellfish may have sensitivity to glucosamine chondroitin, as it is made from the hard shells of sea creatures such as crabs, lobsters and shrimp. There are conflicting reports on the allergic potential of glucosamine chondroitin. Shellfish allergic reactions are from proteins and glucosamine chondroitin is made from carbohydrates. Consulting a physician is advised before taking glucosamine chondroitin if you have a shellfish allergy.

High Blood Pressure

If you have high blood pressure, take heart medication or have heart disease, consult with your physician before taking glucosamine chondroitin, as it is high in sodium. The benefits of increasing glucosamine chondroitin might not outweigh the potential harm in significantly increasing your blood pressure.

Drug interactions

Taking glucosamine chondroitin with medications for ulcers or diuretics may increase the chance of gastrointestinal upset. As with all medications, consult your physician before taking any nutritional supplement when you are on prescribed medication or have a medical condition.

Pregnant or Nursing, Children

Since glucosamine chondroitin in the US is classified as a nutritional supplement, not as a prescriptions medication, the FDA doesn’t regulate or test its safety for pregnant or nursing women, or their babies. Also, glucosamine chondroitin is not recommended for children as it has not been tested on children for safety.

Safe or Scam

While many people take glucosamine regularly, worldwide, there are many studies debating over it. Some studies say that glucosamine chondroitin doesn’t really help heal or relieve pain, and is just another scam aimed at senior citizens. But many people take this nutritional supplement regularly and claim it alleviates their pain. Because this supplement isn’t regulated by the FDA, purchase with care, from a reputable source, to insure that the product you are buying is actually glucosamine chondroitin.

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About the Author

Margaret Denett has been writing professionally for online publications since 2007. She writes for Answerbag and eHow, covering education, family issues, being thrifty as well as health, medical and science areas. She holds a Bachelor of Science in education from the University of Oregon, where she is pursuing a master's degree in education.