No Joke – Your Joint Formula May Cause Glaucoma

Dr. Frank Shallenberger, MD

April 1, 2024


As you may know, nutrients can have a big impact on the pain caused by arthritis. But all those joint supplements you're taking for hip and knee arthritis may have an unexpected side effect.

They may increase your risk for developing glaucoma. At least that’s what a recent study of older adults suggests. (And this is no April Fool’s joke!)

Glaucoma happens when there is an increase in the pressure inside the eye known as intraocular pressure. Left untreated, glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness. The study looked at 17 men and women with an average age of 76 years.

The researchers measured their intraocular pressure while they were taking glucosamine supplements, a nutrient commonly used to treat arthritis. Then they had them stop the supplements and measured their pressure again.

Overall, their pressures were higher when they were taking glucosamine. And when they stopped the supplements, the pressures decreased. The researchers concluded that the study shows that it might be wise for anyone taking glucosamine supplements to have their intraocular pressure checked every now and then. The authors also noted that exactly how glucosamine supplements could affect pressure inside the eye is not known.

So what should you do? Well, first of all, if you are over 65, no matter whether you are taking glucosamine supplements or not, you should have your eyes checked every two to three years. That way you can monitor not only the possibility of glaucoma but also cataracts and macular degeneration. The sooner you treat any of these conditions the better.

Second, the study didn’t make a direct connection between glucosamine supplements and eye damage. It just connected it to higher pressure. This is worrisome, but not definitive. With that said, if your doctor tells you that your intraocular pressures are getting high and you’re taking glucosamine, the wise thing to do would be to stop the glucosamine and recheck it.

The good news in this story is that if the glucosamine is causing an elevation in your intraocular pressure, the pressure will become normal again as soon as you stop taking it.

Finally, make sure you take nutrients that will protect your eyes from damage. These protective nutrients can help you avoid all of these eye diseases.


Mann, Denise (HealthDay Reporter). “Glucosamine Supplements Tied to Risk of Eye Condition,” THURSDAY, May 23, 2013 (HealthDay News).

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