This post was written by Valentino Muza, a qualified nutritionist, published nootropics author, and joint supplement expert at DOCHS.
Sciatica is a large nerve that runs down from your lower back through your legs. Glucosamine and chondroitin are naturally occurring molecules in our body commonly supplemented for various types of pain. Studies show that these compounds promote connective tissue health, reduce joint pain & stiffness, and delay the progression of osteoarthritis.
But do these benefits apply to sciatica pain? Can glucosamine+chondroitin combination help with neuropathic pain? If so, what is their optimal dosage?
To give you a short answer: yes, glucosamine and chondroitin should help your sciatica nerve pain to some extent. How much they will help depends on your unique chemistry and how you react to these supplements, as well as the dosage and quality of the brand you’re purchasing these supplements from. Studies are mixed and mostly come from animals, but overall, the picture is positive in regards to glucosamine+chondroitin helping with neuropathic pain. 1500mg of Glucosamine three times per day and 800mg of chondroitin once per day work better together than taking either compound alone.
Glucosamine and chondroitin have both been shown to help with symptoms of joint pain—more specifically, osteoarthritis. A 2018 meta-analysis published in the Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research looked into 30 trials that investigated glucosamine and chondroitin benefits. The meta-analysis found that chondroitin is more effective than a placebo at relieving pain. Meanwhile, glucosamine reduced stiffness. 
You may say, this all sounds well and good, but what about sciatica nerve pain specifically? Well, studies that look into glucosamine and chondroitin’s effects on sciatica specifically are few and far between, at least in humans. We do however have animal studies which show promising benefits.
A 2022 trial with 42 Wistar rats looked into the effects of glucosamine and chondroitin in the context of sciatic nerve damage and pain symptoms. While the researchers administered high dosages of glucosamine and chondroitin to these rats (more than what we’d take in supplements), the results were promising—rats’ sciatic nerve pain reduced from the glucosamine+chondroitin treatment. The study also suggested that combination of glucosamine and chondroitin works better for sciatica pain than either supplement alone. 
A 2013 BMJ Open. study found similar benefits with just chondroitin sulfate alone. In this trial, they looked at neuropathic pain caused by a partial injury to the sciatic nerve in animals. They gave chondroitin sulfate orally to animals twice per day for 20 days. One of the main things hey measured was “tactile allodynia,” which is a pain response to a touch that wouldn’t normally cause pain. After 21 days from the nerve injury, the animals that received chondroitin sulfate experienced less of this touch-induced pain. The study concluded that chondroitin sulfate might help reduce neuropathic pain caused by sciatic nerve damage by affecting certain molecular pathways in the spinal cord that are involved in processing pain. 
PDPPro Says: 800mg of chondroitin+1500mg of glucosamine sulfate per day with food for sciatica symptoms
Chondroitin’s optimal dosage is 800-1200mg per day, taken either as a single dose or split into multiple servings, with or without food.
The optimal dosage for glucosamine sulfate is 500mg, three times per day with meals. Glucosamine’s benefits are dose dependant, meaning taking more will increase the benefits up to a certain point. Some studies in athletes used up to 3,000mg of glucosamine sulfate per day, taken in divided dosages.
PDPPro Says: 500mg of Glucosamine
- Zhu X, Sang L, Wu D, Rong J, Jiang L. Effectiveness and safety of glucosamine and chondroitin for the treatment of osteoarthritis: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Orthop Surg Res. 2018 Jul 6;13(1):170. doi: 10.1186/s13018-018-0871-5. PMID: 29980200; PMCID: PMC6035477.
- Olaseinde, O.F., Owoyele, B.V. Chondroitin and glucosamine sulphate reduced proinflammatory molecules in the DRG and improved axonal function of injured sciatic nerve of rats. Sci Rep 12, 3196 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-06554-4
- Wataru Nemoto, Kotaro Yamada, Osamu Nakagawasai, Yoshiki Ogata, Masato Chiba, Ryota Yamagata, Hidetomo Sakurai, Koichi Tan-No, Effect of repeated oral administration of chondroitin sulfate on neuropathic pain induced by partial sciatic nerve ligation in mice, Journal of Pharmacological Sciences, Volume 137, Issue 4, 2018, Pages 403-406, ISSN 1347-8613, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jphs.2018.03.003.