There has been a new trend in the dietary supplements industry in the U.S. Nearly every chondroitin products manufacturer is putting glucosamine ahead of chondroitin in the list of ingredients. And this process has had its impact on what people think.


After years of reading glucosamine before chondroitin, many individuals have come to perceive that the latter plays a marginal role. They do not realize that putting glucosamine ahead of chondroitin was a historical accident, not the decision of a jury of scientists.


There are laws on how ingredients are to be put on labels. These laws have been created by the Federal Trade Commission. One of the laws mandates that ingredients should be ordered in order of content amount, not in order of efficacy or importance. And in the traditional formula, manufacturers used 1,500 mg of glucosamine and 1,200 mg of chondroitin in their dietary supplements.


These factors have led to a widespread misperception of chondroitin, despite the big role it plays in reducing osteoarthritis pain.


A large-scale GAIT study of 2005 and a number of more recent studies have shown that glucosamine is good for bone health only when it is used in conjunction with chondroitin. The GAIT study was confirmed in January 2015 when a prestigious journal Cochrane Collaboration published results of 43 clinical trials—involving more than 9,000 people—conducted over two decades with the title “Chondroitin for Osteoarthritis.”


In comparison, the results for glucosamine effects on bone health are minimal. In March last year, C. Kent Kwoh published the results of a randomized, placebo-controlled study in Arthritis and Rheumatism. In the study, the participants took 1,500 mg of glucosamine for six months. At end of the study, they reported no reduction in pain.


To sum up, although you will usually see glucosamine put ahead of chondroitin on supplement labels, it is important to keep in mind which of the two is more important for your bone health.