The jury isn’t out yet on the efficacy of glucosamine/chondrotin supplements for the treatment of osteoarthritis. However, some people have found that after taking the supplements, they experience fewer symptoms.
According to physical therapist Alan Tyson, owner of Architech Sports and Physical Therapy, interesting results have been reported from studies about glucosamine/chondroitin intake. Basically, there are some who say the supplements have been shown to help those who experience moderate symptoms of osteoarthritis, but not those with mild symptoms or those with severe symptoms. Alan’s recommended dosage is 1500 milligrams of combined glucasamine/chondroitin.
Glucosamine and chondroitin are part of normal cartilage. Cartilage acts as a cushion between the bones in a joint. Glucosamine, also called chitosamine, is a natural substance that is found in the covering of shellfish, and chondroitin can come from natural sources, such as shark or bovine cartilage, or it can be made in a lab. According to research, there is no evidence that chondroitin promotes cartilage production. Studies have shown that it promotes mobility and relieves joint pain caused by loss of cartilage. It also promotes entry of glucosamine into the joints, and for this reason glucosamine and chondroitin should be taken together. A Runners World article from 2004 spoke of many runners and other athletes (even a group of Navy Seals), who claimed their knee pain was greatly diminished after taking three months of the supplements. However, the largest and best-designed clinical trial is the Glucosamine/Chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (GAIT), which is funded by the National Institutes of Health. So far, the GAIT has produced two sets of negative results. The study found that glucosamine and chondroitin, alone or together, did not reduce osteoarthritis knee pain more effectively than a placebo.
While studies might not support the taking of these supplements, many individuals, like those from the Runner’s World article, claim their pain was minimized after taking them. One reason some people don’t know if the combined supplements would work for them is that it takes about three months to really experience the effects. In other words, it takes patience to see if it might help, and many of us just aren’t that patient!
Have you tried these supplements? What has been your experience with glucosamine/chondroitin?