by Matt Weik
Calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D are essential nutrients when it comes to improving joint health. But do you know that apart from these three, two more nutrients are extremely important for joint health? Those two nutrients are Glucosamine and Chondroitin.
Glucosamine and Chondroitin are two naturally produced components by the body, found in cartilage. Cartilage is one of the most important connective tissues found in the joints, which protects and cushions the end of the bones.
In this article, we will dig a little deeper into what Glucosamine and Chondroitin are, their potential benefits, side effects, recommended dosage, and various other important details.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to treat or diagnose any condition. The information found within this article is not medical advice and should not supersede a doctor’s diagnosis and treatment plan should you have a health condition. The use of Glucosamine and Chondroitin supplements should never be a replacement for any medication that your doctor puts you on.
What are Glucosamine and Chondroitin?
Glucosamine, also known as the building block of cartilage, is a naturally occurring compound found in the fluid that surrounds the joint. It is classified as an amino sugar. Glucosamine primarily helps build, repair, and maintain the health of cartilage.
Chondroitin is found in the cartilage around the joints. Just like Glucosamine, it is the building block of cartilage and prevents the breakdown of cartilage from happening.
As per studies, only around 3.6% of the global population have tried using the combination of Glucosamine and Chondroitin to treat osteoarthritis pain. Yet, it has been shown that the use of Glucosamine and Chondroitin supplements can help relieve joint pain and reduce stiffness.
The Benefits of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Supplements
Though Glucosamine and Chondroitin can be taken separately, they are commonly taken as a single supplement and are recommended to be taken together due to the compounding effects that they have on joint health.
Another supplement that may be added into a Glucosamine and Chondroitin supplement is MSM (methylsulfonylmethane). If you have pain and swelling in a joint, the inclusion of MSM in the joint formula can help reduce those two symptoms.
A 2015 study shows that a combination of 1500 mg of Glucosamine and 1200 mg of Chondroitin Sulfate helps to reduce knee osteoarthritis pain, swelling, and stiffness as compared to Osteoarthritis NSAID celecoxib (200 mg).
Another study found that the combination of Glucosamine and Chondroitin is comparably effective as Osteoarthritis NSAID celecoxib.
Many experts, however, disagree with the effectiveness of Glucosamine and Chondroitin supplements and, hence, don’t recommend them. The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) strongly discourages the use of Glucosamine and Chondroitin supplements because of lack of evidence and high-risk bias in the current studies that have been published.
That being said, if you search online for reviews of people who used Glucosamine and Chondroitin supplements, many have found it to be incredibly helpful and beneficial in their use.
Who Should Not Take Glucosamine and Chondroitin Supplements?
Thinking about taking Glucosamine and Chondroitin supplements but unsure if you should? Below are some considerations and warnings regarding who shouldn’t use Glucosamine and Chondroitin.
- Since Glucosamine and Chondroitin supplements may raise blood sugar, people with diabetes should avoid it or use it with caution (under a doctor’s supervision).
- If you are taking any medication related to blood-thinning, you should avoid this supplement as it also has a blood-thinning effect.
- If you are allergic to shellfish, you should avoid using Glucosamine and Chondroitin supplements as Glucosamine is derived from Chitin (a component commonly found in shellfish).
- Glucosamine is also made from fungus or fermented corn, which is not suitable for people following vegan or vegetarian diets.
- Glucosamine and Chondroitin supplements are not recommended for children, women who are pregnant, or women who are nursing.
Are There Any Potential Side Effects with Glucosamine and Chondroitin Use?
As per studies, both Glucosamine and Chondroitin are entirely safe to use and show no severe side effects (unless you have any allergies that have been mentioned above). There have only been a few mild side effects like nausea, stomachache, constipation, and headache have been reported.
The recommended dosage to treat osteoarthritis or joint pain is typically around 1500 mg of Glucosamine and 1200 mg of Chondroitin Sulfate.
However, it is better to consult your doctor, who can recommend the exact dosage according to your needs and how bad your joints are.
It’s Time to Boost Your Joint Health!
Glucosamine and Chondroitin can help to alleviate osteoarthritis pain. Though the supplement is considered safe, it should be avoided by people who have diabetes and who are allergic to shellfish.
That being said, between the research and consumer reviews, those who have used Glucosamine and Chondroitin supplements have found them to be very successful. But again, if you were looking for something extra to help deal with some additional pain and swelling, find Glucosamine and Chondroitin supplements that also contain MSM.