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Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate - Uses and Benefits

Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are substances found naturally in the body. Glucosamine is a form of amino sugar that stimulates the manufacture of glycosaminoglycans, important components of the cartilage needed for healthy joints. Aging people seem to lose their ability to produce a sufficient amount of glucosamine, and there are no food sources available. Chondroitin sulfate is part of a large protein molecule (proteoglycan) that gives cartilage elasticity.

Glucosamine sulfate is nowadays becoming a very popular dietary supplement. Glucosamine sulfate is often used in combination with chondroitin. Information on the uses, benefits, and side effects of glucosamine are given below. Studies of glucosamine-chondroitin for osteoarthritis have shown the combination is better than placebo, but benefits seem to depend on severity of pain.

Uses and Benefits of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate

These two compounds have gained a lot of fame and are very widely used for the treatment of arthritic conditions. Though initially skeptical of "homeopathic" natural remedies, our patients have swayed our thinking by reporting excellent symptomatic relief, comparable to any non-steroidal (NSAID) drug.

Some of the Uses of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate are:

  • Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate easily inhibits enzymes that breakdown cartilage.
  • Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate are very good for patients, who have osteoarthritis in their spine (as seen on an x-ray) and who have had other causes of back pain and neck pain ruled out by their health care provider, glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate may be a treatment option.
  • Glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin is also very good in curing many joint diseases.
  • It also helps in stimulating cartilage matrix repair.
  • Other than all the above given treatment done by glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, it has many other anti-inflammatory actions.

Dosage

Doses of chondroitin sulfate used in osteoarthritis trials with positive results usually ranged from 800 to 1500 mg daily. The most common dose is 400 mg t.i.d. An optimum dosage has not been determined in dose-response studies.

Side Effects

The most common side effects are increased intestinal gas, mild epigastric pain, diarrhea, constipation and softened stools. If you are experiencing these problems, try some other supplement before you stop using them altogether. If you are experience any adverse side effects, seek immiediate medical attention. However, in controlled trials, side effects were generally equal to or less frequent than those in placebo groups.

Caution

People who are allergic to shellfish should consult a healthcare practitioner before using this product.

Summary Evaluation

The evidence, although not definitive, is sufficient to support the use of chondroitin sulfate can be used by patients having mild to moderate symptoms of osteoarthritis. Like glucosamine, symptom reduction appears to be similar to that of analgesic doses of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, with a more minimal adverse event profile.

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