Glucosamine And Chondroitin Sulfate
Over the past 2-3 years, there has been a lot of press and conversations regarding the use of supplements to help rebuild damaged cartilage. There have been reports of major relief of pain and improved function. Unfortunately, the studies have been limited and the final status is to be determined. However, regardless of the scientific studies, we have heard from a lot of our patients with supporting results.
How Glucosamine and Chondroitin Rebuild Cartilage
Glucosamine is a natural substance found abundantly in the human body. It functions as a precursor for the growth of cartilage, provides lubrication for the joints and helps reduce pain and inflammation. Its primary role in halting or reversing joint degeneration is directly related to its ability to stimulate the production or substances that are used to build cartilage. Thus, it is hypothesized that by supplementing your diet with glucosamine, your body will build more cartilage to replace or repair any that is damaged.
Chondroitin is another naturally occurring substance. It boosts the synthesis of cartilage, contributes to joint lubrication and blocks the enzymes that break down cartilage. It helps create a watery, shock-absorbing space within the cartilage tissue that helps provide cushioning between the bones as we run. Like Glucosamine, many believe that supplementing with Chondroitin can help strengthen your cartilage and protect it from the wear and tear of activities like running.
Since they are complementary compounds, glucosamine is often paired with Chondroitin to enhance cartilage regeneration. Both compounds are usually bond to sulfate, hence the "sulfate" after each name.
The appropriate dosage has been suggested to be approximately 500 mgs, three times a day. But once again, the exact amounts have never been determined, nor the final measurements of benefit.
The industry that produces these supplements is not carefully regulated and they have reported a wide variation of potency of the products.
Possible Side Effects
As with any medication, please discuss the use of this medication with your primary physician. At this point, questions should contain:
1) Its interaction with blood thinners (such as Coumadin)
Hopefully, this information will stimulate you to obtain further information on a product, which may benefit damage to the articular cartilage.
James M. Fox, MD