What is chondroitin sulfate?
Chondroitin sulfate is a natural component of cartilage. It is extracted from shark or cow cartilage or manufactured synthetically. It is frequently combined with glucosamine Glucosamine Glucosamine is extracted from a material (chitin) present in the shells of crabs, oysters, and shrimp. Glucosamine can be applied topically in a cream or salve or taken in tablet or capsule... read more .
What claims are made about chondroitin sulfate?
People take chondroitin sulfate by mouth for osteoarthritis Osteoarthritis (OA) Osteoarthritis is a chronic disorder that causes damage to the cartilage and surrounding tissues and is characterized by pain, stiffness, and loss of function. Arthritis due to damage of joint... read more , often combined with glucosamine.
Does chondroitin sulfate work?
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
Allow reduction of the doses of conventional anti-inflammatory drugs, for example, when chondroitin sulfate with glucosamine is taken for 6 to 24 months
Until recently, only small trials had studied chondroitin sulfate alone or in combination with glucosamine to treat osteoarthritis. The Glucosamine/Chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (GAIT) was a large, placebo-controlled study of glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and the 2 in combination to treat osteoarthritis of the knee. Pain was not significantly reduced by either drug alone or the combination. The study suggested that people with moderate-to-severe knee pain saw some relief with the combination, but these findings require confirmation.
What are the possible side effects of chondroitin sulfate?
Chondroitin sulfate seems to have no serious side effects. Among the most common side effects are stomach pain, nausea, and other digestive tract symptoms. However, unless the chondroitin sulfate is pharmaceutical grade, it has the potential to transmit infections with bacteria Bacterial Infections: Overview , viruses, Overview of Viral Infections A virus is composed of nucleic acid, either DNA or RNA, surrounded by a protein coat. It requires a living cell in which to multiply. A viral infection can lead to a spectrum of symptoms from... read more or prions Overview of Prion Diseases Prion diseases are rare progressive, fatal, and currently untreatable degenerative disorders of the brain (and rarely of other organs) that result when a protein changes into an abnormal form... read more .
What drug interactions occur with chondroitin sulfate?
Chondroitin sulfate taken with warfarin and possibly other drugs that prevent blood clots (anticoagulants) may increase the risk of bleeding; therefore, people taking anticoagulants should avoid chondroitin sulfate.
Chondroitin sulfate taken in combination with glucosamine might possibly help ease symptoms of osteoarthritis Osteoarthritis (OA) Osteoarthritis is a chronic disorder that causes damage to the cartilage and surrounding tissues and is characterized by pain, stiffness, and loss of function. Arthritis due to damage of joint... read more of the knee, but the effects, if any, are likely to be small. Treatment guidelines for osteoarthritis do not currently recommend using chondroitin and glucosamine.
Chondroitin sulfate appears reasonably safe, but people taking anticoagulants (such as warfarin) should not take it.