Glucosamine, chondroitin, and Methyl sulfonylmethane, or MSM, are supplements commonly used to manage the pain associated with osteoarthritis, according to WebMD. However, scientific studies have found conflicting evidence on the effectiveness of these supplements.
Both chondroitin and glucosamine are components of cartilage and are used by the body to lay down healthy tissue inside joints, according to WebMD. Although scientists speculate they have a stimulatory effect on cartilage formation, the Glucosamine/Chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Study found the supplements to have no effect on joint pain. As of 2015, another study found that glucosamine did not protect against cartilage wear and pain in knee joints. While the majority of the population experiences no adverse reactions to these supplements, diabetics, people on blood thinners, and those with shellfish allergies should avoid them, advises WebMD.
MSM is naturally found in foods, but is destroyed during processing, reports WebMD. Its proposed joint healing properties come from the sulfur it contains; sulfur is an important component of joint and connective tissues. Sulfur also has possible anti-inflammatory properties and has been used to treat a range of issues from allergies to snoring, adds WebMD. Doctors warn of possible interactions between MSM and prescription medications, and recommend consulting a doctor before starting a supplement.