Food supplements for joint problems should be avoided by certain populations



In France, the use of dietary supplements containing glucosamine and/or Chondroitin sulfate, presented as being able to contribute to joint comfort, has increased significantly. Adverse reactions potentially associated with the consumption of these food supplements have been identified by the ANSES nutrivigilance scheme. For this reason, the Agency conducted an assessment to identify the potential risks associated with taking these products. As a result of its expertise, ANSES advises certain populations to avoid consuming food supplements based on glucosamine and/or chondroitin sulfate. 

Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are molecules naturally present in the connective and cartilage tissues of our body, and ensure, among other things, the structure and elasticity of cartilage, tendons and skin. These two compounds are marketed in most European countries as medications and food supplements. In France, many food supplements containing glucosamine and/or chondroitin sulfate claiming to contribute to joint comfort are available on the market.

Reported adverse reactions

Adverse reactions related to the consumption of these food supplements have been reported to ANSES in the framework of its nutrivigilance system. The effects reported are highly diverse: digestive disorders, abdominal pain, skin rashes, itching, hepatitis or purpura (lesions caused by bleeding beneath the skin ).

ANSES conducted an expert assessment to identify the potential risks associated with the consumption of food supplements containing glucosamine and/or chondroitin sulfate, based on adverse reaction reports received through the nutrivigilance scheme. The experts also reviewed reports filed in other countries (Europe, Canada and the United States) and carried out an in-depth analysis of the scientific literature.

Identified at-risk populations

The expert assessment identified specific populations for whom the consumption of food supplements containing glucosamine or chondroitin sulfate presents a risk. The following population groups should not consume such products:

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