Osteoarthritis (OA), the most widespread type of arthritis, is a degenerative disease of the joints. Although sometimes capable of causing acute inflammation, it is most commonly a “wear-and-tear” disease involving degeneration of joint cartilage and formation of bony spurs within various joints. Trauma to the joints, repetitive occupational usage, and obesity are risk factors. Most people over 60 years of age have this affliction to some extent, with approximately 16 million sufferers requiring medical care. The main goal of treatment is to relieve pain.
Glucosamine and chondroitin have been widely promoted as a treatment for OA. Here is everything you need to know about Glucosamine and Chondroitin and Arthritis.
Glucosamine, an amino sugar, is thought to promote the formation and repair of cartilage. Chondroitin, a carbohydrate, is a cartilage component that is thought to promote water retention and elasticity and to inhibit the enzymes that break down cartilage. Both compounds are manufactured by the body. Glucosamine supplements are derived from shellfish shells; chondroitin supplements are generally made from cow cartilage.
People tend to have strong opinions about the combination of glucosamine and chondroitin. For those in whom it works, it can have a great effect. About a third of the people who take it have a good response. Another third get some benefit but maybe not enough to keep taking it. For the last third, it is useless. The medications seem to be safe, however, with few side effects — even in long-term use.