There is a lot of interesting research available about what can or can’t help relieve pain for individuals dealing with osteoarthritis. What about supplements such as glucosamine or chondroitin? Can these really help alleviate pain related to osteoarthritis?

It seems as though experts are split about how helpful these two supplements can be when used together. There are many researchers who believe that glucosamine can be helpful in treating aches and pains associated with osteoarthritis, especially when used together with the supplement chondroitin.

This is because: 

  • Glucosamine is believed to help with cartilage formation. Based on some laboratory testing, adding this supplement can help slow the breakdown of cartilage in the body. It can be taken in both sulfate and hydrochloride form.
  • Chondroitin is part of a protein that makes up cartilage. It gives the cartilage a more elastic effect and chondroitin is believed to be an anti-inflammatory. This can help reduce the painful swelling experienced with osteoarthritis.

However, there have been a few studies that have noted no marked difference between taking these supplements rather than a placebo. The supplements were determined to be safe, though, and doctors didn’t see any reason for patients who perceived a benefit to stop taking them.

Most experts believe that glucosamine and chondroitin should be used in conjunction with other treatments such as pain medication, stretching exercises, water therapy, and chiropractic manipulation. Many doctors are recommending that regular exercise can offer more benefits to patients with osteoarthritis than medications and supplements alone.

According to Dr. Patience White on NPR, losing only five pounds can reduce the equivalent of twenty pounds of stress on knees and joints. Next week on the blog, we’ll talk about even more opportunities for incorporating daily activity and stretching into your office or home routine.

Have you tried glucosamine and chondroitin for your osteoarthritis? Have you noticed any improvements in your pain?

Image by Randen Pedersen via Flickr. 

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