glucosamine and chondroitin
Glucosamine hydrochloride, a naturally occurring compound comprised of glucose and a derivative of the amino acid glutamine, is an integral part of all forms of connective tissue in your body: cartilage, ligaments and tendons. It also serves as a precursor to synovial fluid by stimulating glycosaminoglycans.
Double-blind studies have shown that glucosamine may be more effective than ibuprofen for relieving the pain and inflammation of osteoarthritis. In a study published in the scientific journal, The Lancet, a team of researchers from the Bone and Cartilage Metabolism Unit of the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Liège, Belgium tested glucosamine on 212 people with osteoarthritis in their knees. Patients taking glucosamine experienced a 20 percent to 25 percent improvement of their symptoms, while the placebo group experienced a slight worsening of symptoms.
Chondroitin sulfate is also naturally produced in the human body, and is a major component of extracellular matrix. Some research shows it may strengthen and add flexibility to the protein filaments that compose connective tissues, may help slow the breakdown of cartilage, and help restore cartilage growth to better cushion the joints.
Research also shows the nutrient may reduce inflammation and inhibit the production of enzymes that weaken connective tissue by attacking tendons and ligaments. It may therefore be effective for use in rehabilitating and even preventing some types of injuries, such as torn ligaments and tendons or damaged cartilage.
In a study on osteoarthritis patients, a group of French researchers found that oral chondroitin may be an effective pain-relieving agent. From cartilage samples taken at the end of three months of therapy, researchers also found that chondroitin users appear to experience less tissue damage.
Further, chondroitin also shows indications that it may provide nutritive support for atherosclerosis, high cholesterol and kidney stones.
Glucosamine and Chondroitin Together
Research has shown that chondroitin may be even more effective when combined with glucosamine. In a 2000 review in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), researchers from The Arthritis Center at the Boston University School of Medicine wrote, “Trials of glucosamine and chondroitin preparations for osteoarthritis symptoms demonstrate…some degree of efficacy…for these preparations.”
Another review of the glucosamine and chondroitin research published in the 2001 edition of the Bulletin on the Rheumatic Diseases, researchers note, “The notion that glucosamine and chondroitin might have disease-modifying effects in osteoarthritis is highly appealing and supported by preliminary data.”
Published research in 2005 from the Czech Republic confirms that the glucosamine/chondroitin combination can relieve pain and improve range of the joint motion as well as have mild anti-inflammatory effects.