If the results proved favorable, it could have significant benefits for those looking for a more economical formula since chondroitin is one of the more expensive ingredients in a combination formula, about 5-10 times more expensive than glucosamine. An effective, economical joint formula might be glucosamine and MSM, either separately or together, without chondroitin sulfate. This idea is promising since the joint health research supporting glucosamine is very good, MSM is good, while chondroitin is somewhat weaker than the others.
To test this theory, researchers conducted a 12-week double-blind clinical trial on 118 patients with mild to moderate osteoarthritis. The trial showed excellent results despite the absence of chondroitin sulfate. Three times a day, one group took 500 mg of glucosamine sulfate, one group took 500 mg of MSM and one group took both. In the glucosamine-only group, pain scores fell from 1.74 to 0.65; in the MSM only group, pain scores fell from 1.53 to 0.74; and in the combination group, pain scores fell from 1.7 to 0.36, equaling about twice the level of improvement in pain and inflammation compared to either glucosamine or MSM alone.
While the results did not test chondroitin head-to-head against glucosamine and MSM, it did show that one could achieve significant benefits with taking a daily amount of 1,500 mg of glucosamine and 1,500 mg of MSM together, without chondroitin. You could save about 40-50% compared to a formula that included chondrotin.