Many people who suffer from Osteoarthritis declare that glucosamine chondroitin has helped end their pain and helped rebuild their poor joints. Does the science back up their claims? Does the dietary supplement have more of a placebo effect than a true medical effect? Will it work for you?
How does this supplement help with osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease that affects the health of joints in the body. The smooth cartilage diminishes over time causing pain in the joints. The joints that seem to suffer the most from this disease are the knees, hips, and shoulders.
The theory behind glucosamine chondroitin is that each of the components helps with different aspects of osteoarthritis. The glucosamine is an amino sugar that is a precursor to the formation of glycosaminoglycan and is believed to help with the formation and repair of cartilage and chondroitin is a glycosaminoglycan that is said to help build cartilage resiliency. The treatment theory is that the oral intake of GLUCOSAMINE CHONDROITIN may increase the rate of the formation of new cartilage by providing more of the building blocks for cartilage found in the supplement.
Short studies have show positive results
Most of the studies that have found positive results have been short in duration (1-2 months). Among those who participated in control groups with one group taking glucosamine chondroitin and the other group taking placebos report that they have experienced less pain. The studies are too short to show true efficacy, but the finding may be promising.
Other, longer studies have not shown that the supplement works as it is advertised to work. The studies have tested larger groups of people and looked at different factors. Even with all that effort, they still have not been able to shown conclusively that they don’t work. So if it is safe for you to take and you want to try something that may help alleviate your arthritis, it is not likely to harm you to try. It may or may not work depending on your own biology and other health concerns.
Are there any side effects to worry about?
Glucosamine chondroitin has no known severe side effects, but caution is still important. The glucosamine is harvested from crustaceans, so if you have an allergy to them, you should proceed with caution or avoid it all together and seek an alternative treatment for your osteoarthritis. The most common side-effect is increased intestinal gas and softened stools, which compared to pain relievers such as NSAIDs may be an improvements since NSAIDS can cause more severe side effects such as gastrointestinal conditions and bleeding.
Glucosamine chondroitin is considered a dietary supplement so it is not controlled or tested by the FDA. The best way to know if this supplement may work for you and is safe for you to take is to discuss it with your doctor. He will know if the supplements are safe to take with any other medications you are currently taking for this and any other health conditions you may have.
The current theory is the glucosamine chondroitin will help your joints move better and with less pain. If it is safe for you to take them and you wish to try the supplements, you should try them for 3 months. If in that time period you find they help and your doctor feels the supplement is still safe, then by all means stick with it. But if you do not find any helpful benefit you should cease taking them and seek an alternative treatment that may be more efficacious. It is up to you and your doctor to find what works for you.