An Overview of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate Benefits

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

The cartilage is the cushion between the bones in a joint. As we age, the cartilage within the joints starts to thin and break down, leading to joint pain. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are used to prevent joint problems. These compounds work by restoring the worn cartilage within the joints. Glucosamine and chondroitin are found naturally in the body, specifically in cartilage cells.

Glucosamine is a type of amino sugar that produces cartilage and connective tissues. Chondroitin sulfate is a complex carbohydrate that boosts water retention within the cartilage. Taken as supplements, glucosamine and chondroitin are marketed separately or together to boost joint health.

Glucosamine supplements are made from shellfish covering or created as a synthetic form. On the other hand, chondroitin supplements are made from shark or bovine cartilage. These dietary supplements may come in tablet, capsule, powder, and liquid form. They are taken together or in combination with other dietary supplements.

Benefits of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Supplements

Protects from Osteoarthritis Pains

Some supplement companies market glucosamine and chondroitin supplements as a treatment for pain associated with osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a type of degenerative condition that affects the joints. The anti-inflammatory compounds found in glucosamine and chondroitin ease pain, soreness, and inflammation caused by aching joints. However, lab results have yielded mixed results. There is no study that can prove the efficacy of glucosamine and chondroitin supplements in relieving joint pain. Our advice is to consult your doctor first before taking any type of supplements.

Restore Cartilage Health

Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements are marketed as a treatment for thinning cartilage. As we age, the cartilage within the joints starts to thin out. And when it does, the bones in the joint start grinding into each other, causing pain and inflammation. Eventually, the worn cartilage no longer eases the friction between the joints. This leads to irreversible joint damage.

Glucosamine and chondroitin restore the cartilage to protect the joint from damage. These compounds also hydrate the cartilage so it stays lubricated and healthy. However, lab results remain mixed too.

Better Joint Health

The body produces glucosamine and chondroitin naturally. These compounds are the building blocks of cartilage to keep the bones and joints healthy. Glucosamine and chondroitin also promote repair and reduces inflammation.

Glucosamine, in particular, is proven effective in soothing inflammation. In fact, a study by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons suggests that glucosamine is crucial to joint health. However, there was no mention of any health benefits from taking glucosamine supplements. The study was based on the efficacy of glucosamine in relieving pain, not the promotion of cartilage regeneration. Health experts agree that more research is needed to determine the benefits of glucosamine and chondroitin to the joints.

Our Final Thoughts

Although initial tests yielded promising results, there is yet a pill created that can truly restore cartilage health. Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements should only be used to support joint health. They should not be used to replace certain drugs. It’s best to seek help from a doctor to determine the right steps to soothe joint pains.