FRENCH FOOD SAFETY AUTHORITY CAUTIONS THE USE OF ARTHRITIS SUPPLEMENTS / by Nikolaas Tilkin-Franssens

A recent report advises against the consumption of food supplements containing glutamine and/or chondroitin sulfate for certain population groups. The undesired adverse effects can include digestive problems, abdominal pain, rash, itching, hepatitis or haemorrhagic lesions of the skin. At present, food supplements and medicinal products containing glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are widely available.

Although the French Food Safety Authority, named ANSES, also recognises in its report that both glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate contain compounds naturally found in the connecting tissues and cartilage of our the human body which promote the structure and elasticity of cartilage tendons and skin. For certain risk groups the consumption of both substances should be avoided. The identified risk groups are:

(i) people with diabetes or pre-diabetic, asthmatic or treated with anti-vitamin K,

(ii) (for food supplements based on glucosamine) people with a food allergy to crustaceans or insects.

(iii) people whose diet is controlled for sodium, potassium or calcium, as these supplements can be an important source.

(iv) children and pregnant or breastfeeding women.

ANSES advises food producers to take account of the risk groups and appropriately inform consumers. In addition, it calls for the establishment of harmonised European Union maximum use levels for both glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate.

ANSES (29/03/2019) - Les compléments alimentaires à visée articulaire déconseillés à certaines populations - link