Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate

Introduction:

Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate are receiving increasing attention from the public and health professionals as a potential treatment of osteoarthritic pain. It has been suggested that these compounds might possibly restore joint cartilage or perhaps slow down the destruction of joint cartilage. In addition, it has been suggested that they might improve the lubrication of the joints.

Potential Benefits:

Current information from research studies suggests that these chemicals may be effective in reducing joint pain, tenderness, and swelling, and improving joint mobility. These studies also suggest that they are safe and well tolerated.

Current Issues:

  • These compounds are considered dietary supplements and therefore are not regulated by the FDA.
  • The purity of the products can vary widely, which affects dosage. However, commonly used doses are:
    Glucosamine: 0.5-1.5 g three times daily
    Chondroitin Sulfate: 200-400 mg three times daily.
  • It is unclear how these supplements might interact or combine with other medications. Therefore, caution is advised for those who take other prescription or non-prescription medication.
  • There is very little information on the long-term use (effectiveness and safety) of these supplements; studies suggest that they need to be taken for 6 months to 3 years before any significant effects are seen.
  • Because of the relative limited amount of good research studies on these supplements, their use is currently not supported by the Arthritis Foundation.
  • Conclusion:
  • These supplements might have a place in the treatment of osteoarthritis. However, at this point, more research is needed to better understand the effectiveness and safety, and their potential role in the treatment of osteoarthritis.

For those who decide to use these supplements, product purity needs to be considered and explored.