Risk assessment for glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate

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Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are two popular dietary ingredients present in dietary supplements intended to support joint health. A large body of human and animal research suggests that oral intakes of these ingredients, either alone or in combination, reduces joint pain and improves mobility in persons with osteoarthritis. The increased awareness and use of these ingredients in dietary supplements warrant a comprehensive review of their safety. Systematic evaluation of the research designs and data do not provide a basis for risk assessment and the usual safe upper level of intake (UL) derived from it unless the newer methods described as the observed safe level (OSL) or highest observed intake (HOI) are utilized. The OSL risk assessment method indicates that the evidence strongly supports safety at intakes up to 2000 mg/d for glucosamine, and 1200 mg/d for chondroitin sulfate, and these levels are identified as the respective OSL. These values represent the highest levels tested in human clinical trials. The complete absence of adverse effects at these levels supports a confident conclusion of their long-term safety.

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