View Full Version : Problems when Stopping Glucosamine chondroitin

Brian Lawyer
02-21-2009, 09:07 AM
I have done some google research on this but I can't find anything to support my below experience with Glucosamine Chondroitin.

Approx 6 or 7 years ago I tried glucosamine for several months. There was no doubt I felt the benefits of the increased fluids to my joints. The problem was when I stopped taking Glucosamine I remember feeling all this funkiness in my joints and it felt like I was worse off then prior to taking Glucosamine.

For that reason, I never wanted to take Glucosamine again. But recently with all the Olympic lifting I have been doing I thought it would be a good precautionary measure to get back on Glucosamine. I've been on it for about 3 months now with no problems.

This last week was a back off week for me so I decided I would stop taking glucosamine and flush it out of my system. Approx 4 - 5 days after stopping cold turkey all my joints, primarily ankles and knees start having this constant snap, crackling, and pop. I thorougly warmed up prior to a Front Squat work out earlier this week and even during my work sets my knees were popping. This is highly unusual for me as I may have some snap crackle pop during warmups but never during work sets.

Finally, the day after my workout my left knee got this feeling all day long like it needs to pop but I can't get it to pop. If I bend it greater than 90 degrees it feels real tight. I don't actually have any pain unless I really force it far past 90 degrees.

I am sure it has something to do with the effects of stopping GC cold turkey since this is my second experience with it. Any advice? I don't like being dependent on a supplement so my thought was to taper down to one pill a day instead of two pills and finish out this bottle I have. Hopefully my knee will work out the nitrogen, fluid, etc. that is causing this pressure.

Garrett Smith
02-21-2009, 09:40 AM
I'd say you have two main options.

Wean yourself off the glucosamine/chondroitin and don't ever do it again, or...

Plan on staying on it for good, knowing that this cycle will continue happening every time you stop.

If you're having pain/discomfort/"funkiness" at multiple joints, you might want to look into nightshade avoidance, getting your vitamins D & K right, and making sure you're getting enough magnesium. That's where I'd start.

You might try MSM instead, or maybe even as a bridge while you're getting off the glucosamine. I usually get it as part of the Emergen-C packets.

Brian Lawyer
02-21-2009, 09:56 AM
Wean yourself off the glucosamine/chondroitin and don't ever do it again, or...

I was leaning towards quitting forever option but also looking for reassurance that I am not just imagining this.

Garrett Smith
02-21-2009, 10:54 AM
Separating a placebo effect from a real physiological effect is something that even conventional medicine can't do. It could be either--the important thing is that you are perceiving something as happening, and that's the only thing that really matters in your experience.

You could have some genetic tendency towards insufficient GAG production, or the glucosamine/chondroitin was possibly covering up inflammatory processes that were going on the whole time (only to be unleashed once you stopped the supplement).

There are certain "inborn errors of metabolism" that require people take certain drugs, vitamins, or minerals for their entire lives, whether they want to or not, or they pay some pretty serious consequences health-wise. If you had some issue that needed you to get more glucosamine than the average trainee to stay functional, pain-free, and enjoy your life more, then it would only be your choice to avoid taking it and then deal with the changes that brings.

I seem to need my supplemental magnesium or I get cramps, I got them before I ever took magnesium supplements, I still got them after I had begun taking them (if I skipped a couple days). I know that most foods are deficient in magnesium these days. I may need more than the average person. Stress, hard training, and the amount of sweat I can put out in Arizona summers all require more electrolytes, including magnesium. I choose to take some magnesium and I realize this is likely a permanent thing for me--my pride/ego is not allowed to get in the way of that.

Hope that helps. I doubt you are the first person this "glucosamine dependency" has happened to. If you continue on glucosamine, I'd suggest you drop the chondroitin and consider trying www.ultimateglucosamine.com 's product.

Brian Lawyer
02-21-2009, 12:15 PM
Doc, you bring up an excellent point above. I have experimented with all types of supplements from the local health stores. Most I found useless but creatine is another supplement that works real well for me. Every time I start a cycle of Creatine I am pretty much gauranteed to gain about 5lbs or so and increase my strength anywhere from 5 - 20lbs on every lift. The effects generally stick with me for some time after weaning off creatine. That is just one of those supplements that works real well with my bodies chemical composition.

So my initial reaction was to just get back off Glucosamine and stay off. But since Glucosamine seems to have these effects on my body, one could argue that is more of a reason that I should be on it to begin with. So you could be right that I just need to keep taking it into the indefinite future.

I thought it could just be placebo effect. But I really didn't think twice about stopping Glucosamine last week. It wasn't until a week letter when my knees and ankles were snap, crackling, and popping constantly and all through my workout that I put two and two together and also recalled my previous experiences.

Garrett Smith
02-21-2009, 01:53 PM
Hey, at least you're paying enough attention to notice. Most folks won't put in the time or care to even try to put 2+2 together...

I snap/crackle/pop quite a bit anyway. MUCH less when I avoid nightshades (I believe Scott Kustes said he experienced this as well on his blog on nightshades). As long as the noises aren't accompanied by pain/discomfort/declining performance, I don't concern myself with it.

Mike ODonnell
02-21-2009, 08:47 PM
How clean in your diet? Much Sugar? Take Fish Oil too?

I know if I have sugary things my joints start to crack more esp in the knees and have more pain (deep in the kneecap)....had big issues years ago esp after hockey games.....got rid of the sugar and breads....it went away.

Brian Lawyer
03-05-2009, 10:49 AM
Here is an update for you guys. I still stand by what I noted above regarding glucosomine. I definitly felt some effects of coming off of it and had a lot more knee popping and stuff. But I think I blamed too much on it. After analyzing my front squats some more. I don't think I wa flaring my toes out enough to match my knee flare. I really go knees way out on front squats in order to get full depth with upright torso but I was still setting up my toe positioning like I had been using for LBBS's. So I believe this may have been a contributing factor to the above mentioned knee problem.

Garrett Smith
03-05-2009, 11:42 AM
Good detective work, way to look at multiple factors!