What is Chondroitin?

Chondroitin is a component that makes up connective tissue in your body, mainly in the cartilage. Not surprisingly, people usually use chondroitin to treat joint pain. This is the main benefit of chondroitin, but we will discuss other benefits you may not have heard of.

These are the top benefits of chondroitin:

Eases Joint Pain or Osteoarthritis Symptoms

Portrait of a wounded sportsmanChondroitin may alleviate osteoarthritis symptoms. Osteoarthritis (OA) happens when the cartilage between the bones wears down with time. The hands, knees, hips, and spine are usually affected the most.

One way that chondroitin helps is by blocking enzymes that break down cartilage. It may also improve cartilage’s shock-absorbing ability.

A large study with 1,600 knee OA patients found that chondroitin plus glucosamine relieved pain in some patients with moderate or severe osteoarthritis.

Another two-year study saw that chondroitin and glucosamine were as effective as celecoxib (an anti-inflammatory painkiller) at treating knee OA. In 2011, one study saw that chondroitin alone relieved pain in patients with hand OA.

Some early research also shows that chondroitin and glucosamine help ease joint pain caused by aromatase inhibitors (medications used against breast cancer).

However, not all studies agree. One 2010 analysis saw that chondroitin and glucosamine did not benefit participants. Still, chondroitin has mild side effects and is considered safe. It may be worth a try to ease your joint pain.

May Improve Eye Health

Young girl using disease contact eye dropChondroitin is often part of a solution used during cataract surgery, which helps protect the eye. But chondroitin can help more than just with surgery. Some research suggests that chondroitin eye drops can reduce eye dryness and be as effective as artificial tears.

Reduces Heartburn and Gastritis

Persistent heartburn can be debilitating, but chondroitin may be able to help. Some research shows that a syrup combination of hyaluronic acid and chondroitin can reduce acid reflux symptoms.

Similar studies also show that a solution of hyaluronic acid and chondroitin sulfate may help with stomach inflammation, or gastritis.

Other Potential Benefits

Research is young, but chondroitin may also be helpful for

  • Painful bladder syndrome (interstitial cystitis)
  • Lowering heart attack risk
  • Psoriasis (scaly, itchy skin)
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Infections in kidney, bladder, or urethra

If you suffer from any of the above conditions, talk with your doctor about chondroitin and what is best for you.

Other Common Ingredients

Different pills and tablets on grey backgroundYou might find chondroitin with other ingredients in most supplements. These can also help ease joint pain and other symptoms. Here are some other  common ingredients:

Glucosamine and chondroitin are very similar—they are both amino acids that are building blocks of joints. Glucosamine and chondroitin are often paired together in studies and supplements. It makes it doubly effective.

Hyaluronic Acid is a substance in the eyes and joints in your body. People often supplement with hyaluronic acid to help the eyes, joints, and skin. It may help keep joints lubricated and eyes and skin moisturized.

Turmeric is well-known for giving curry its flavor and color, but almost just as well-known for its health benefits. The main component in turmeric is called curcumin. It is an anti-inflammatory that can help ease pain.

Side Effects

Chondroitin is recognized as safe and is usually tolerated well. Some side effects can include

  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Leg swelling
  • Hair loss
  • Skin rash
  • Irregular heartbeat

Safety

  • Some people may be worried about the process of manufacturing chondroitin. Because it comes from animal sources, some worry that animal diseases can be transmitted. WebMD reports that there are no cases of chondroitin causing diseases in humans and the risk is very low.
  • Certain chondroitin products contain high amounts of manganese. Talk with your doctor first before taking these supplements.
  • There isn’t enough evidence to know if chondroitin is safe for women pregnant or breastfeeding. It is better to be safe and not use chondroitin during this time.
  • Chondroitin may aggravate asthma symptoms.
  • It can also increase bleeding in people with blood clotting disorders.
  • Early research states that chondroitin may cause prostrate cancer to spread or reoccur. If you have prostate cancer, do not take chondroitin sulfate.

Interactions

Chondroitin interacts negatively with blood thinning medications such as warfarin. Always talk with your doctor about starting a new supplement if you are on a medication.

The Bottom Line

Chondroitin is an amino acid that is one building block of cartilage. You can use chondroitin to ease joint pain, reduce eye dryness, or even ease heartburn. It often works best when paired with other ingredients such as glucosamine and hyaluronic acid. Be sure to talk with your doctor if you have any concerns before taking chondroitin.

Elements of Healthcare’s Joint Health Support contains glucosamine, chondroitin, and other ingredients such as turmeric and Boswellia extract. These fortify your joints and reduce painful swelling. Try it today!

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