According to the Centers for Disease Control, 30 million American adults suffer from osteoarthritis. And even though the side effects of many prescription drugs have become well known, many people will still assume that overall, they are the only choice.
But there other options: modifying diet to anti-inflammatory foods, working with a sensible weight loss regimen to reduce stress on the joints, and adding glucosamine and chondroitin to a daily supplement regimen.
Glucosamine and chondroitin are both extremely popular supplemental nutrient for anyone with joint pain, whether or not they suffer from arthritis, and for good reason. In the body, glucosamine is a polysaccharide compound naturally found in cartilage. For people with osteoarthritis, it not only helps rebuild those cushioning, shock-absorbing structures, but relieves pain as well.
Chondroitin sulfate is a glycosaminoglycan which is a component in cartilage, connective tissue, bone, and skin. It helps extend the life and activity of cartilage-producing chondrocytes, reduces inflammation, and strengthens the load-bearing subchondral bone tissue in the joints.
Often researched in a combination, chondroitin and glucosamine have been shown to be equal to celecoxib (also known as Celebrex) for stopping knee pain. Even though the outcomes in relief were similar, bear in mind that glucosamine and chondroitin don’t cause dangerous side effects like body aches, diarrhea, gas, insomnia, and risk of congestive heart failure seen with celecoxib.
If you are interested in alleviating and slowing the progression of osteoarthritis, you may consider adding glucosamine and chondroitin to your daily regimen along with supportive nutrients including type II collagen, hyaluronic acid, and boswellia (frequently called frankincense).
Messina OD, Vidal Wilman M, Vidal Neira LF. Nutrition, osteoarthritis and cartilage metabolism. Aging Clin Exp Res. 2019 Jun;31(6):807-813. doi: 10.1007/s40520-019-01191-w. Epub 2019 Apr 13. PMID: 30982220.
Background: Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint disease and a leading cause of adult disability. There is no cure for OA and there is no effective treatment to stop its progression. Current pharmacologic treatments such as analgesics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may improve the pain and offer some relief but they do not affect the progression of the disease. The chronic intake of these drugs may result in severe adverse events. The aim of this review is to revise the effects of nutrition on cartilage metabolism and OA progression.
Methods: A systematic literature search was performed including those related to macro- and micro-nutrients' actions on cartilage and OA outcome. We selected peer-reviewed articles reporting the results of human clinical trials.
Results: Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate have shown to delay OA knee progression in several clinical trials. The effectiveness of some products considered nutraceuticals has been widely reviewed in the literature. This article presents a general description of the effectiveness and mechanism of action of nutrients, vitamins, antioxidants and other natural components considered as part of the normal diet. Many in vitro studies indicate the efficacy of specific nutrients in cartilage metabolism and its involvement in OA. However, rigorous clinical studies needed to evaluate the efficacy of these compounds in humans are still missing. The influence of nutrients and diet on the metabolism of cartilage and OA could represent a long-term coadjuvant alternative in the management of patients with OA. Effects of diet modifications on lipid and cholesterol profiles, adequate vitamin levels and weight reduction in obese patients could influence the course of the disease.
Conclusion: This review demonstrates that nutrition can improve the symptoms of OA. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate have shown robustly to delay the progression of knee OA in several well-designed studies, however more controlled clinical trials are needed to conclude that nutritional changes slow down the progression of the disease.
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