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 Several research studies found that glucosamine and chondroitin supplements promote the growth of cartilage cells. Cartilage is vital for functional, pain-free joints. However, these findings don't mean much if the supplements don't reduce joint pain. A Swiss study by scientists from Bern University found that glucosamine and chondroitin supplements had no effect on arthritis symptoms in the knee or hips in 3,800 patients. The researchers examined the effects of each supplement by itself and in combination. Worldwide, people spend nearly $2 billion per year on glucosamine-chondroitin supplements. They have a strong placebo effect— people want them to work, so they do. The best way to reduce arthritis pain is to exercise sensibly and maintain an ideal weight. (British Medical Journal, 341: c4675, 2010)