Prevalence of glucosamine and omega-3 fatty acid use and characteristics of users among mid-age women: Analysis of a nationally representative sample of 10,638 women



There has been a dramatic increase in the use of dietary supplements over the last few decades and both omega-3 fatty acids and glucosamine are two of the best-selling dietary supplements in many countries. An understanding of omega-3 fatty acids and glucosamine consumption is of significance to health care providers and for future health promotion activities.


This research involved analysis of data collected from a nationally-representative sample of Australian women as part of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (ALSWH). Participants’ use of omega-3 fatty acids (FA), glucosamine, their demographics, health status and health care utilisation were measured. Analysis included logistic regression modelling.


Of the 10,638 women in the study, 26.8% reported use of omega-3 FA and 15.9% glucosamine. Women with osteoarthritis (OR=2.529; 95% CI: 2.190, 2.921), other arthritis (OR= 1.618; 95% CI: 1.375, 1.905), and joint pain (OR= 2.699; 95% CI: 2.305, 3.160) were more likely to use glucosamine (all p<0.001). In contrast, those with diabetes (OR= 0.471; 95% CI: 0.343, 0.646) or depression (OR= 0.764; 95% CI: 0.657, 0.887) were less likely to use glucosamine (both p<0.001). Women with osteoarthritis (OR=1.481; 95% CI: 1.297, 1.691) and joint pain (OR= 1.456; 95% CI: 1.306, 1.622) were more likely to use omega-3 FA (all p<0.001).


Substantial prevalence rates for use of glucosamine and omega-3 FA amongst mid-aged women highlights the need for health practitioners and policymakers to be mindful of the possible significant role of such supplement use as part of patient health-seeking behaviours.

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Correspondence to Jon Adams.

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Sibbritt, D., Lui, C., Kroll, T. et al. Prevalence of glucosamine and omega-3 fatty acid use and characteristics of users among mid-age women: Analysis of a nationally representative sample of 10,638 women. J Nutr Health Aging 20, 637–644 (2016).

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Key words

  • Glucosamine
  • omega-3 fatty acids
  • women
  • arthritis
  • joint pain