Written by Serena Berger
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Glucosamine and chondroitin are two substances that occur naturally in the body. While glucosamine stimulates the repair and formation of cartilage, chondroitin prevents the body from degrading elements used to construct cartilage. Both are available as supplements and used by many who hope that they will relieve symptoms associated with arthritis--primarily the worst joint pain.

Does Chondroitin Really Help?

As there is not a governing body that has evaluated the claims made by supplements the way the FDA evaluates drugs, it can be hard to separate the truth from fallacious but appealing advertising claims. Some people take chondroitin with the hope that it will relieve joint pain and potentially reverse the damage already caused by osteoarthritis. Support has been found for the first claim. Several studies conducted in Europe found that people taking chondroitin sulfate reported less joint pain. Chondroitin sulfate may have anti-inflammatory effects, which is speculated to lead to the pain relief.

A long term study has recently looked into the effects of chondroitin on the degeneration and restoration of cartilage. To date, all studies have focused on pain relief and therefore there is no medical evidence to support these other claims. If you are considering trying these supplements, you should speak with your physician about realistic expectations for the treatment.

If you are currently taking a non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drug and feel that the side effects are too much for you, you may want to consider trying chondroitin supplements. Studies found that users reported fewer side effects when taking supplements in place of the anti-inflammatory drugs. Be advised, however, that it can take several weeks (and even months) before you will feel any effects, so even trying the chondroitin will require a small investment.

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