Should You Take Chondroitin For Your
Arthritis Symptoms?

With the number of supplements available, picking the best can be challenging. Chondroitin is most commonly combined with glucosamine but is also available on its own. Is this supplement a good choice for helping with your arthritis symptoms?

This supplement is a building block of joint cartilage that occurs naturally in the body. It helps to keep cartilage healthy by absorbing fluid (particularly water) into the connective tissue. It may also block enzymes that break down cartilage, and it provides the building blocks for the body to produce new cartilage. The theory of supplementation is to provide a sufficient amount of these compounds for the body to produce new cartilage, thereby assisting in joint protection.

When compared to glucosamine, there has less research on this supplement. When evaluating high quality research, the effect of this supplement has been inconclusive.

Here is a summary of what the research indicates regarding chondroitin:

• It has been shown to be less effective than glucosamine sulfate. There is also no additional benefit to combining the two.

• The typical dosage is 200mg to 400mg, two to three times per day.

• This supplement has been generally safe to use and well tolerated.

• It has the disadvantage of being harvested from animal sources such as bovine cartilage.

• This supplement may interact with blood thinners such as Coumadin.

Based on the research, there is little evidence to support the use of this supplement alone or even paired with glucosamine for treating arthritis symptoms. Of course, if you have been using it and it is successful for you, there is no need to change your routine. However, consider some of the other supplements that have more evidence of being effective.

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Rheum Dis Clin North Am. 2011 Feb;37(1):103-18. Epub 2010 Dec 4.Glucosamine and chondroitn sulfate.Miller KL, Clegg DO.

BMJ. 2010 Sep 16;341:c4675. doi: 10.1136/bmj.c4675.Effects of glucosamine, chondroitin, or placebo in patients with osteoarthritis of hip or knee: network meta-analysis.Wandel S, Jüni P, Tendal B, Nüesch E, Villiger PM, Welton NJ, Reichenbach S, Trelle S.