What Are Glucosamine And Chondroitin Made Up Of
Glucosamine and chondroitin are cartilage components that the body naturally produces. By supplementing the cartilage tissue, discomfort and swelling in the joints that are most prone to be affected by osteoarthritis can be lessened. Also, this can prevent the breakdown of connective tissues.
Chondroitin is derived from the cartilage of cow tracheas, whereas glucosamine is derived from shellfish shells . Their chemical composition is similar to cartilage molecules, and their manufacturers claim that they help worn cartilage. However, medical experts and researchers are skeptical about their benefits.
How Do Glucosamine And Chondroitin Work
Chondroitin and glucosamine are thought to be chondroprotective . In addition to glucosamine, chondroitin helps pull water and nutrients into the cartilage, maintaining its elasticity.
- Glucosamine and chondroitin have been shown to inhibit cartilage breakdown, reducing joint discomfort and promoting healthy joints in studies.
- They also help maintain cartilage structure, since glucosamine and chondroitin contain anti-inflammatory qualities that can help minimize cartilage degeneration and pain in the joints.
To summarize, when these supplements are taken together, they do the following:
- Maintain and promote joint health
- Assist in the relief of mild to moderate joint pain
- Assist in the growth and production of healthy joint cartilage
Complementary And Integrative Medicine Treatments
Nutritional supplementsÃ¢In 2006, a nationwide clinical trial led by a VA investigator found little overall benefit for the widely used nutritional supplements glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. The studyâs findings did suggest, however, that the supplements, taken in combination, might help those with more severe pain.
The trial was supported by the National Institutes of Health and involved nearly 1,600 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee.
On a related note, researchers found that participants in a study who used glucosamine for a long time developed fewer cases of lung cancer than others their age who did not take the supplement. No such relationship was found for chondroitin sulfate, however.
Swedish massage treatment for osteoarthritisÃ¢In a small pilot study, published in 2015, researchers from the Durham VA Medical Center and Duke University demonstrated that Swedish massage is an acceptable and feasible treatment for VA health care users with osteoarthritis of the knee.
The Veterans who took part in the study reported, on average, about a 30 percent improvement in pain, stiffness, and function. They did not, however, show improvement in a timed 50-foot walk. A larger clinical trial is planned.
You May Like: Is Fruit Bad For Arthritis
Glucosamine And Chondroitin Sulfate Use In Arthritis
- Original: Nov 22, 2019
Dr. David Borenstein Explains the role of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate in Arthritis -What You Need to Know!
Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are substances found naturally in the body. Glucosamine is an amino sugar that plays a role in cartilage formation and repair. Chondroitin sulfate is part of human cartilage. Cartilage is the firm, slippery and rubbery material that covers the surface of bones and allows for smooth joint movement.
Both glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are sold separately or combined as dietary supplements, usually in the form of a pill. Glucosamine in supplements commonly comes from shellfish, although there is now a non-shellfish glucosamine that is made from a fungus. Glucosamine comes in either sulfate or hydrochloride form. Chondroitin sulfate is usually taken from the cartilage of cattle tracheas , but can also be derived from pig or shark cartilage.
Glucosamine With Msm Vs Glucosamine/chondroitin
In addition to glucosamine/chondroitin supplements, you can get glucosamine combined with methylsulfonylmethane , which is another common compound for joint health. MSM is known for supporting joint mobility and function, as well as comfort of both the joints and muscles.
So, when choosing a joint supplement, how does glucosamine with MSM compare to glucosamine with chondroitin? Well, it’s going to partly depend on what you’re looking for. One popular reason why people take MSM is to make exercising more comfortable, while glucosamine/chondroitin is more for everyday joint support.
And there’s no reason why you can’t take all three of these nutrients together!
Don’t Miss: Who Do You See For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are The Claims Reasonable
Chondroitin and glucosamine are both found naturally in the bodys cartilage and synovial fluid . Chondroitin lubricates joints, supporting the natural elasticity of your cartilage whilst glucosamine helps the body repair and maintain cartilage . The issue is not whether both occur naturally, but whether taking them in supplement form does any good.
Contraindications Adverse Effects And Interactions
The reported adverse effects have been generally uncommon and minor. Glucosamine is produced from the shells of lobster, crab, and shrimp. However, the antigen proteins associated with seafood allergies are not found in the shell, and there have been no reports of reactions in persons with shell-fish allergies who take glucosamine.33 There also have been no significant supplementdrug interactions involving glucosamine. In one case report, the addition of glucosamine sulfate to a stable-dose regimen of warfarin appeared to magnify the anticoagulant effects of warfarin in a 69-year-old man.34 Only one person has been reported to have had an allergic reaction to oral glucosamine.35
Recommended Reading: What Is Arthritis Of The Spine
A Landmark Study Of Glucosamine And Chondroitin
A 2016 study of glucosamine and chondroitin enrolled 164 patients with knee pain due to osteoarthritis and gave half of them a combination of glucosamine and chondroitin the other half received an identical placebo pill. The study was stopped early for an unusual reason: those taking the supplement actually reported worse symptoms than those taking a placebo. This raises the possibility that taking glucosamine and chondroitin might make your joints feel worse than doing nothing.
Did this study or subsequent research spell the end of people taking glucosamine, chondroitin, or both? Not at all! While the evidence of benefit is certainly not compelling, some studies have found that these supplements provide modest benefit, and people who feel it is helping them may not care so much about individual studies anyway. Even if a treatment is not effective on average, there may be folks who, for whatever reason, get real relief from it. Finally, people are taking glucosamine and/or chondroitin for a number of reasons and conditions other than osteoarthritis of the hip or knee, so these studies may not apply to them.
Glucosamine And Chondroitin Reduce Cartilage Loss
There have been a bevy of studies in addition to this new one that show that glucosamine and chondroitin help MRI cartilage findings when taken over many months to years. For example, I blogged on a study a few years ago that showed that chondroitin helped to reduce cartilage loss on MRI. There are other studies for both glucosamine and chondroitin that show this, especially when theyre taken for long periods of time .
Another study shows again that when both are taken together over two years, they slow the progression of arthritis as seen on X rays. The study looked at more than 600 middle-aged and elderly patients who still had a small amount of cartilage and who were randomized to take either supplement alone, the two together, or a placebo. Only the two supplements taken together showed protection of cartilage over the two year period.
Recommended Reading: What Cherries Are Good For Arthritis
Glucosamine: No Help For Hip Arthritis
Dutch Study Shows Popular Supplement No Better Than Placebo Industry Disagrees
Feb. 18, 2008 The popular supplement glucosamine, used by many arthritis sufferers, was found to be no better than placebo pills for relieving the pain of hip osteoarthritis or increasing the ability to do everyday activities, according to a new study from the Netherlands.
In our study, there was not much room for doubt, says Rianne Rozendaal, MSc, the studys lead researcher.
The differences between the glucosamine and placebo group were all very small, says Rozendaal, a researcher at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
But representatives of the supplement industry disagree, with one manufacturer saying the researchers may have focused on people too early in the arthritic process.
Glucosamine And Arthritis: No Hip Help
At the studys end, the pain scores of those who took the supplement didnt differ much from those who took the placebo, Rozendaal says. On the scale used, the pain scores range from 0 to 100, she explains in an email interview, where 0 equals no pain and 100 equals most severe pain.
The average difference between groups in pain scores was a decline of just 1.5 points, she says. To be statistically significant, there would have to have been a difference of at least 10 points, she says.
Our trial does not suggest an effect of glucosamine for hip osteoarthritis, she adds.
No differences were found between groups in the joint space narrowing, either, Rozendaal says. The study is published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Don’t Miss: How Do You Know You Have Arthritis
Glucosamine Chondroitin: Uses Benefits Side Effects And Dosage
Glucosamine and chondroitin are two popular supplements said to help manage joint pain.
Despite their widespread use, though, research on glucosamine and chondroitin has showed mixed results. In fact, some studies have shown theyre not effective.
This may leave you wondering whether you should take glucosamine and chondroitin or if youre better off without them.
This article discusses the uses, potential benefits, side effects, and recommended dosage of glucosamine and chondroitin.
How Does It Work
Chondroitin is found naturally in your body. Its a vital part of cartilage, giving it elasticity by helping it retain water.
Laboratory studies have found that chondroitin can reduce the activity of enzymes and substances that break down collagen in joints. Other studies have demonstrated that it has several anti-inflammatory properties. Research on animals has found that chondroitin can prevent the breakdown of cartilage and can also stimulate repair mechanisms.
Side-effects are usually mild and infrequent. They can include:
If you take anticoagulants, you should only take chondroitin under your doctors supervision. This is because chondroitin might increase the risk of bleeding. You should also be cautious about taking chondroitin if you have asthma because it might make breathing problems worse.
Most trials have used a daily dose of between 800 mg and 1,200 mg taken in divided amounts.
Who Should Not Take Glucosamine/chondroitin
Glucosamine/chondroitin is generally safe and well-tolerated with no major side effects. However, you should check with your doctor if:
- You’re 60 years of age or older and are being treated for eye conditions
- You are being monitored for your blood pressure
- You are sensitive to insulin
- You are pregnant or breastfeeding
Whats Behind The New Advice To Stop Taking Glucosamine For Arthritis
by Nial Wheate and Joanna Harnett, The Conversation
The Australian Rheumatology Association this week warned people not to take the supplement glucosamine for their osteoarthritis due to possible allergic side-effects.
Whats the evidence behind this latest advice? And do you really need to stop taking it?
How did we get here?
This is despite conflicting evidence on whether the supplement works. Yet many patients may buy glucosamine, presuming that even if it doesnt help, at least its natural and so wont do any harm.
The study found hundreds of allergic reactions to glucosamine have been reported to Australias medicines watchdog, the Therapeutic Goods Administration .
So is it safe for you to take glucosamine? In short, if it works for you and you havent had any side-effects, and your doctor and pharmacist know you are taking it, it is likely to be safe based on the multiple trials conducted to date.
What is glucosamine?
Whether it works to manage osteoarthritis seems open to debate. The most recent evidence suggests little to no clinical benefit.
Is glucosamine really as dangerous as people say?
Also Check: Can Rheumatoid Arthritis Cause Death
European Supplements Different Than American Supplements
This study was done in Italy. Be aware the European supplements are different than American ones in that European products are regulated by their local government for purity and potency. In the United States, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not review vitamins or supplements. When you buy a bottle of supplements in America, you cannot be 100 percent sure of what you are buying. Also, we dont prescribe supplements here but with a prescription in Europe, you know you are getting a good product, cautions Erickson. Check ConsumerLab.com, which tests and rates various vitamin and supplement brands.
And What About The Downsides
In general, glucosamine and chondroitin are thought to be safe. However, as with any medication, there are potential risks. In some clinical trials, people taking the glucosamine-chondroitin combination have reported
- heartburn or abdominal pain
- allergic reactions .
Another concern is drug interactions, which may be a problem with any combination of medications. For example, chondroitin may interact with blood thinners such as warfarin, so the combination could increase the risk of bleeding.
Check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking glucosamine and/or chondroitin. Many doctors warn patients that the FDA does not regulate supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin, so they may not contain the amounts stated on the label, or there could be contaminants in them.
And, of course, there is cost to consider health insurance usually doesnt cover these supplements. .
Also Check: Does Aleve Work For Arthritis Pain
Do Glucosamine Supplements Work For Arthritis
Glucosamine is a popular dietary supplement used to treat osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease caused by insufficient regeneration of cartilage in joints, most often in the knees and hips.
It gets worse over time and causes joint pain, difficulties walking and disability.
There is no known cure, but there are a few ways to potentially slow the process. Many people try to stave off osteoarthritis by taking glucosamine supplements.
But do they really work? This article takes a look at the evidence.
What Is Glucosamine Chondroitin
Both glucosamine and chondroitin are naturally produced in the body. Glucosamine is a water-soluble amino monosaccharide that is found in high quantities in joint cartilage and synovial fluid. Chondroitin is a sulfated glycosaminoglycan that is also a major component of joint cartilage. Both substances protect and stimulate joint cartilage, while also suppressing inflammation. Glucosamine and chondroitin are available as dietary supplements, often formulated together because of their synergistic benefit.
Also Check: How To Get Rid Of Rheumatoid Arthritis Nodules
What Does The Research Say
While there have been some claims that glucosamine and chondroitin, either together or separately, can help to reduce pain in people living with OA, these claims are now being questioned. Evidence around the effectiveness of these supplements has always been mixed. However, recent reviews of this evidence now suggest that studies that show positive results may be of low quality and unreliable. Higher quality, independent studies suggest that glucosamine and chondroitin are no better than placebos at reducing pain or slowing the impacts of OA. As a result of this, while glucosamine and chondroitin remain safe for most people, many doctors no longer recommend these supplements as a way of managing arthritis.
To date, there is no evidence that these supplements are effective for any other forms of arthritis.
Serious Side Effects Of Glucosamine Chondroitin
There have been concerns that glucosamine chondroitin can cause more serious side effects, but the research has not been conclusive. For example:
- Does glucosamine affect your blood pressure? Taking glucosamine might increase your blood pressure, but it might not. Some people in studies who took glucosamine saw their blood pressure go up. However, in other studies, people taking glucosamine did not have any changes in their blood pressure.
- Can glucosamine cause liver damage? Glucosamine might change liver function but its not clear if the supplement actually damages the liver. In some studies, people with chronic liver disease who took glucosamine supplements had some changes in their lab tests that looked at liver function.
You May Like: What Is Used To Treat Arthritis
You May Like: Does Arthritis Make You Itch
What Is The Role Of Glucosamine And Chondroitin Sulfate In The Treatment Of Osteoarthritis
Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate have been used in Europe for many years and continue to be popular with patients worldwide. In the United States, however, the glucosamine/chondroitin arthritis intervention trial reported, at best, limited benefit from glucosamine , chondroitin sulfate , or the combination of the 2 in patients with knee osteoarthritis.
In GAIT patients overall, glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate alone or in combination did not reduce pain effectively at 24 weeks, but in patients with moderate-to-severe pain at baseline, the rate of response was significantly higher with combined therapy than with placebo . At 2 years, no treatment achieved a clinically important difference in loss of joint-space width, though treatment effects on Kellgren-Lawrence grade 2 knees showed a trend toward improvement relative to the placebo group.
The AHRQ comparison found no clear difference between glucosamine or chondroitin and oral NSAIDs for relieving pain or improving function. However, the AHRQ observed that most trials showing therapeutic benefits from glucosamine used pharmaceutical-grade glucosamine that is not available in the United States, noting that the trial findings may therefore be inapplicable to currently available over-the-counter preparations.
Osteoarthritis Fact Sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at . January 10, 2019 Accessed: February 7, 2020.
Also Check: Is Broccoli Good For Rheumatoid Arthritis