Glucosamine and Chondroitin

Glucosamine and chondroitin are two dietary supplements that have become popular supplements for treating the symptoms of arthritis. Many loyal users are singing the praises of these two dietary supplements. They are often sold in combination with one another. But are they really effective? Here is some information that will help you decide if these two dietary supplements are right for you.

What is Glucosamine?

Its full name is glucosamine sulfate, and it is a natural substance found in the bodys joints. Beside your own joint fluid, glucosamine can also be found in certain sea creatures, including the shells of crabs, lobsters, and shrimps. Scientists can also create glucosamine in the laboratory.

Our bodies create our own steady supply of glucosamine that it uses to create and repair lost cartilage. Cartilage is that firm yet pliable tissue that cushions the joints and the ends of all bones. Cartilage is important because it keeps bones from rubbing against each other and absorbs the shock and force of the impact.

Without cartilage to protect our joints, our legs, arms, hips, and other areas, the body would not be much good. Our joints would quickly become damaged and wear out permanently. Like glucosamine, chondroitin (or chondroitin sulfate) can also be found in the fluid surrounding the joints. It can also be found in cattle and sharks.

Whats the Reason Behind their Popularity

Recent research has found that both supplements do contain anti-inflammatory properties, and that they have anti-inflammatory effects in some animals. Unfortunately, these supplements have been tested on humans in very limited forms and their true efficacy is not yet known.

One small study did demonstrate a slight benefit of use in individuals diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. However, many health professionals have deemed this a flawed study. Although it has not yet been shown that these supplements can have a significant effect on rheumatoid arthritis or other forms of arthritis, most medical researchers agree that both supplements are quite safe.

Glucosamine is considered very safe for most people. Those people prone to allergic reactions may experience a worsening of symptoms. Also, some research has concluded that glucosamine can raise high blood sugar levels and cause insulin levels to rise for those with diabetes.

Although no direct link has been made, some believe that glucosamine can sometimes decrease the overall effectiveness of certain prescription medications, including some anticancer drugs and anti diabetes drugs. The most common side effects of regular glucosamine consumption include mild stomach pain and nausea.

As for chondroitin, it also appears to be safe for most people. Some medical researchers believe that chondroitin can worsen pre-existing conditions, such as asthma, allergies, and certain cancers. The most common side effects of chondroitin include nausea and stomach irritation.

Although quite rare, some users have reported severe constipation, diarrhea, nausea, and stomach pain. Like glucosamine, there exists a good amount of anecdotal evidence about the efficacy of glucosamine. However, until official clinical trials are done, these two dietary supplements will remain at the fringe of arthritis treatment options.