Millions of people take supplements with glucosamine and chondroitin to ease the pain from osteoarthritis in their knees and hips. However, a new study has found that there is no clear evidence that these supplements are mitigating these symptoms.

According to the study conducted by the British Medical Journal, treatments did not decrease levels of pain when compared to placebos such as sugar pills.

When studied alone, Glucosamine monotherapy performed slightly better than chondroitin monotherapy. Glucosamine narrowed the joint space very little, while chondroitin alone had no effect at all.

On the positive side, the researchers found no evidence that the supplements had any side effects according to Peter Jüni, MD, of the University of Bern in Switzerland, and colleagues from the BMJ.

Peter Jüni also mentioned, "We see no harm in having patients continue these preparations as long as they perceive a benefit and cover the cost of treatment themselves."

Global sales of glucosamine almost made $2 billion in 2008, according to Juni, an increase of nearly 60% compared to 2003. The supplement became well-known after researchers reported in The Lancet in 2001 that glucosamine was one of the first products to prevent the onset of osteoarthritis.