It's easy to get answers about health and nutrition! Just send your question by email to and Dr. Harlan will respond to selected questions of general interest. Answers will be posted in the Ask Dr. Gourmet newsletter (sign up now!) and archived in the Ask Dr. Gourmet section of the website.

Please note that the Ask Dr. Gourmet feature is restricted to questions regarding food and nutrition. Due to the many questions we receive, not all questions may be answered. For more specific questions about your individual health, please contact your doctor. About Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy


Ask Dr. Gourmet

Are there supplements, such as glucosamine, chondroitin or omega-3s, that help repair cartilage?

I have a labral tear and I'm contemplating arthroscopic hip surgery. I have read on the "Men's Health" forum about the risks of this surgery and also about using foods such as greens and omega 3, 6 and 9s to repair cartilage. Is there any truth to the eating greens will cause hip cartilage to repair or re-grow? Does glucosamine/chondroitine work?

Dr. Gourmet Says...

Salmon, a good source of omega-3 fatty acids

This is another example of claims made on the internet without much good science to back it up.

There have been some research studies that show improved function in those with arthritis when they consume a healthy diet. A variety of nutrients have been looked at, including various fats (Omega-3 and Omega-6), antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. One area that has been looked at is the role of Vitamin K in osteoarthritis. While it has been shown that those who have lower levels of Vitamin K are more prone to have osteoarthritis, there has not been evidence that supplements are beneficial. There have been no good quality studies linking consumption of greens and regrowth of cartilage.

Chondroitin and glucosamine have been very disappointing. While some small trials were promising, there has not been good quality large scale research to support that it is effective. The meta analysis of smaller trials has been generally negative, with the results not supporting the use of this supplement.

Thanks for writing,

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP
Dr. Gourmet

(Vitamin K in hand osteoarthritis: results from a randomised clinical trial. Neogi, T, et al., Ann Rheum Dis 2008 vol. 67 (11) pp. 1570-3)