Chondroitin sulfate is a glycosaminoglycan, a natural component of cartilage. It is extracted from shark or cow cartilage or manufactured synthetically. It is frequently combined with glucosamine.
Chondroitin sulfate is used to treat osteoarthritis. Scientific evidence shows no benefit when chondroitin sulfate is taken by itself. However, evidence suggests that in combination with glucosamine, it may reduce joint pain, improve joint mobility, and allow reduction of the doses of conventional anti-inflammatory drugs when it is taken for 6 to 24 mo. Effects over longer periods are unclear. Mechanism is unknown. Dose is 600 mg po once/day to 400 mg po tid.
No serious adverse effects have been reported. Among the most common adverse effects are stomach pain, nausea, and other GI symptoms.
Chondroitin sulfate may also affect the action of warfarin. Chondroitin sulfate is safe for most people, but people who have asthma, blood-clotting disorders, or prostate cancer should use caution when taking it.
Last full review/revision May 2009 by Ara DerMarderosian, PhD
Content last modified August 2013