Glucosamine, Chondroitin, Turmeric and Boswellia: effective molecules

We reviewed the different molecules involved in joint protection. Those with the strongest and most promising international scientific validity were selected: glucosamine, chondroitin, boswellia, vincaria and turmeric.


On theone hand, glucosamine and chondroitin are the number one and number two reference molecules in rheumatology. On this subject, we advise you to read the French translations of the recommendations of theOsteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) on the management of gonarthrosis and coxarthrosis and to read the journal Rheumatism 76 (209) 279-288.


On theother hand, there are promising new natural molecules to relieve painful joints, such as boswellia, cucurmin and vincaria. These plant extracts, which have been used for thousands of years, are now of great interest to the global scientific community.



Numerous clinical studies in osteoarthritis of the knee have been carried out on the intake of glucosamine at a rate of 1500 mg/d (100% of the daily intake). The major international rheumatology congresses have given glucosamine the highest score among anti-arthritic molecules. We would like to explain how this molecule affects the metabolic balance of the joint.

What is the role of glucosamine in the joints?

Cartilamine provides glucosamine (a fibre extracted from the shell of a crustacean), which promotes a high turnover of some of the major components of cartilage. The small glucosamine molecule is the basic link in the proteoglycans, which are responsible for maintaining the resistance properties of cartilage. Glucosamine supplementation promotes high turnover with low degradation of proteoglycans, thus tending to preserve the delicate balance necessary for proper mechanical function of the joints. 


In answer to the question "What is the role of glucosamine in the joints?" we would like to explain this with the help of the following explanations.

The effects of glucosamine on the joints

The effects of glucosamine on joint metabolism can be summarised in the following 4 points:


1. Increased renewal of fundamental joint constituents, such as :

a/ Proteoglycans: the basic link in these long chains is the glucosamine molecule. Increased availability of glucosamine stimulates the formation of proteoglycan chains.

b/ Hyaluronic acid: "the lubricant of the joints", is a very long molecule made up of thousands of elementary units of glucosamine.

c/ Manufacture of hyaluronic acid from glucosamine. In vitro studies: Bassleer. Osteoarthritis Cartilage 1998/ Dodge. Osteoarthritis Cartilage 2003 / Noyszewski. Arthritis Rheum 2001.


2. Limitation of metalloproteases: Enzymes responsible for the degradation of joint constituents


3. Cartilage stabilisation: Glucosamine intake prevents cartilage erosion. Reginster, The Lancet, 2001.


4. Limitation of the activity of inflammatory mediators: the intake of glucosamine thus helps to reduce pain phenomena.

In vitro studies: Gouze Arthritis & Rheumatism, Shikhman Arthritis & Rheumatism. Translations of these experimental studies are available in the clinical studies section.


To summarise the clinically proven effects of glucosamine: 

  • Relieve painful joints: short-term effect
  • Improving joint mobility: medium-term effect
  • Protecting the integrity of the cartillage: the desired long-term effect

What scientific data is available on glucosamine?

Over the past 25 years, numerous international medical studies (Belgium, Germany, Italy, Great Britain, the United States, Canada, etc.) have tested the efficacy and tolerance of glucosamine on the symptoms of pain and joint discomfort in thousands of patients with osteoarthritis. These randomised, controlled, double-blind clinical studies have been published in renowned medical journals such as The Lancet, Arthritis & Rheumatism, etc. These studies tend to demonstrate rigorously that supplementation with 1500 mg of glucosamine is a slow-acting, effective treatment for osteoarthritis and is very well tolerated.


1. Taking 1500 mg of glucosamine per day shows equivalent benefits to ibuprofen (a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) at three weeks for joint pain.

Glucosamine (blue) versus Ibuprofen (red) based on Lequesne's algofunctional index; report of gastrointestinal adverse events.200-patient randomized double-blind study of glucosamine (1500 mg/d) in osteoarthritis of the knee. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, 1994; 2: 61-69


2. Taking 1500 mg of glucosamine per day shows greater benefits than ibuprofen at three months in terms of joint mobility.

Comparison of glucosamine (blue) versus Ibuprofen (red) on symptom scales. Randomised double-blind study in 45 patients on glucosamine (1500 mg/d) in temporomandibular osteoarthritis. The Journal of Rheumatology, 2001; 28: 1347-55


3. Glucosamine 1500 mg per day shows more complete effects than paracetamol after six months of use in terms of pain and joint mobility. Randomised double-blind study Herero-Beaumont ACR 2005

4. Taking 1500 mg of glucosamine per day for three years demonstrates a chondroprotective effect, i.e. preservation of cartilage integrity, compared to placebo.

Comparison of glucosamine (blue) and placebo (green) in the measurement of joint space on X-ray. Randomised double-blind study in 212 and 202 patients on glucosamine (1500 mg/day) in knee osteoarthritis. reginster The Lancet, 2001; 357: 251-6. Pavelka Archive of Internal medicine, 2002; 162: 2113-23

5. Post-study follow-ups at eight years indicate a lower consumption of anti-inflammatory drugs and a better quality of life, which persisted in patients who had previously taken glucosamine for three years. Five years after treatment, the use of knee prostheses was reduced fourfold in the glucosamine group.

Post-study follow-up at 5 years of patients previously treated with glucosamine for 3 years. Comparison of glucosamine (blue) versus placebo (yellow).


Left table: consumption of care during the last year of follow-up: use of anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs divided by 2 in the glucosamine group. Right table: % of patients who received a knee prosthesis 8 years after the start of the Pavelka study: use of prosthesis divided by 3 in the glucosamine group. reginster, Arthritis & Rheumatism 2003; 48 (Suppl):80; Pavlka ACR San Antonio 2004; PPT251 Altman & al Osteoathritis & Cartilage 2005;13,13-19


All these reference studies were conducted with a dosage of 1500 mg glucosamine. Translations of these clinical studies are available in the studies tab.


The molecule with the greatest consensus at international rheumatology conferences - after glucosamine - is chondroitin. The combination of glucosamine and chondroitin is suitable for strengthening particularly weak joints.

Like glucosamine, chondroitin is also a molecule naturally synthesised by the joints. Chondroitin is a component of proteoglycans, which enable cartilage to remain properly hydrated and thus to absorb shocks.

1. Chondroitin 1200mg daily shows comparable benefits to diclofenac (a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) at three months of use. Morreale P.J Rheumatol study. 1996.


2. Taking 800 mg of chondroitin per day for two years demonstrates a chondroprotective effect, i.e. preservation of cartilage integrity, compared to placebo. Kahan studies.

3. The large American governmental GAIT study shows that the combination of glucosamine 1500 mg/d + chondroitin 1200 mg/d is more effective than either molecule alone in the case of severe symptoms. Over a period of 6 months, the efficacy was shown to be superior to celecoxib, the reference anti-inflammatory drug. GAIT study American College of Rheumatology (ACR), San Diego 2005; New England 2006

All these reference studies were conducted with a dosage of 1200 mg chondroitin.


There are promising new natural molecules to relieve painful joints, such as boswellia, curcumin and vincaria. The combination of glucosamine and herbal medicine is suitable for particularly painful joints.

Curcumin, the active ingredient in the spice turmeric

Turmeric is well known to foodies as one of the spices in curry. This ingredient has also been used in traditional Indian medicine for 4000 years. In recent years, international scientific research has shown increasing interest in the study of curcumin - the active ingredient in turmeric. The concentrations of cucurmin studied are much higher than those of food spices, which do not have a cucurmin titration. The soothing and antioxidant properties of curcumin are beneficial to many body functions, particularly the digestive system, brain and joints. This ingredient, which has been used for four millennia, is now described as probably one of the most promising natural treatments of our century!

Piperine, the active ingredient in black pepper

Due to low bioavailability, curcumin needs to be combined with a potentiating agent, preferably piperine, the active agent from black pepper. Ancient Ayurvedic medicine traditionally combines black pepper with turmeric. Prof. Bisht S, Departments of Pathology, Pancreatic Cancer Research Center, Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, Baltimore, USA. Curr Drug Discov Technol. 2009.

Akba and boswellic acids, active ingredients of the boswellia plant - Alkaloids, active ingredients of the vincaria plant

Boswellia and Vincaria are ancient plants used in India and Peru respectively for the natural treatment of joints.


Particularly rich in anti-oxidant substances (boswellic acids, alkaloids), these extracts are of great interest to today's leading scientific research. It is of utmost importance to provide an adequate titration of active substances for these plant extracts, in order to effectively obtain the expected joint benefits.


Vincaria (300 mg/d) + Maca, randomised double-blind study versus glucosamine (1500mg/d), conducted in 95 gonarthrosis patients for 2 months. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2007. Partnership India / USA Free Radical Biol Med 2000 

Pr DOUGADOS (Head of the COCHIN hospital department) Edito Arthritis Research & Therapy 2008. "Lipo-oxygenase inhibition in osteoarthritis: a potential symptomatic and chondro-modulatory effect?

Silica (Silicon), Selenium, Copper

These trace elements are essential for the proper maintenance of many physiological functions in the body, and in particular for the maintenance of cartilage tissue by exerting a pro-anabolic and anti-oxidant effect.

Vegetable Glucosamine

If you avoid products of marine origin (because of your personal convictions or because of an allergy to shellfish and seafood). Or if you are simply looking for a natural product that is effective for your joints and at the same time of plant origin: Cartilamine PHYTO - an innovation of the laboratory Effi-Science - has been designed to meet this double requirement.


The only significant difference between crustacean and plant glucosamine is the source from which the glucosamine is extracted.


Both are natural, Cartilamine is of marine origin, and Cartilamine PHYTO is of plant origin. Cartilamine PHYTO is suitable for your vegetarian, vegan, kosher or halal diet. If you don't have a special diet, you can of course choose Cartilamine PHYTO because you prefer plant-based products.