chondroitin sulfates (generic name)
a nutraceutical product - treats Coronary artery disease, Interstitial cystitis, Osteoarthritis, Psoriasis, Bladder control, Iron absorption en...
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Chondroitin was first extracted and purified in the 1960s. It is currently manufactured from natural sources (shark/beef cartilage or bovine trachea) or by synthetic means. The consensus of expert and industry opinions supports the use of chondroitin and its common partner agent, glucosamine, for improving symptoms and stopping (or possibly reversing) the degenerative process of osteoarthritis.
EvidenceDISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Multiple controlled clinical trials since the 1980s have examined the use of oral chondroitin in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee and other locations (spine, hips, finger joints). Most of these studies have reported significant benefits in terms of symptoms (such as pain), function (such as mobility), and reduced medication requirements (such as anti-inflammatories). However, most studies have been brief (six month duration) with methodological weaknesses. Despite these weaknesses and potential for bias in the available results, the weight of scientific evidence points to a beneficial effect when chondroitin is used for 6-24 months. Longer-term effects are not clear. Early studies of chondroitin applied to the skin have also been conducted.
Chondroitin is frequently used with glucosamine. Glucosamine has independently been demonstrated to benefit patients with osteoarthritis (particularly of the knee). It remains unclear if there is added benefit of using these two agents together compared to using either alone.
Several studies have shown promise for using chondroitin for interstitial cystitis, which is a chronic inflammation of the bladder. Chondroitin sulfate may also be helpful in patients with overactive bladder or unstable bladder control. Additional evidence is necessary before a firm conclusion can be drawn.
Coronary artery disease (secondary prevention):
Several studies in the early 1970s assessed the use of oral chondroitin for the prevention of subsequent coronary events in patients with a history of heart disease or heart attack. Although favorable results were reported, due to methodological weaknesses in this research and the widespread current availability of more proven drug therapies for patients in this setting, a recommendation cannot be made in this area.
There is preliminary research administering intravesicular chondroitin in patients diagnosed with interstitial cystitis. Additional evidence is necessary before a firm conclusion can be drawn.
Iron absorption enhancement:
Early research suggests that taking chondroitin with iron may enhance iron absorption in healthy individuals. It is unclear whether taking chondroitin would help patients with iron deficiencies absorb more iron. More research needs to be done in this area before a strong recommendation can be made.
Chondroitin is sometimes used as a component of eye solutions used for keratoconjunctivitis, corneal preservation, and intraocular pressure. These solutions should only be used under the supervision of an ophthalmologist. Additional study is needed in this area.
Early study suggests that chondroitin may help treat psoriasis. Well-designed clinical trials are needed to confirm these results.
Muscle soreness (delayed onset):
Chondroitin was thought to be beneficial for delayed onset muscle soreness because chondroitin sulfate is often used as an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever for osteoarthritis. However, early research does not support this use. More research is needed in this area to confirm these results.
TraditionWARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Aging, allergies, Alzheimer's disease, analgesic, angina (chest pain), anticoagulant (blood thinner), anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antithrombotic, atherosclerosis, bone healing, breast cancer, cardiovascular health, chronic venous ulcers, deep intra-osseous defects, gonarthrosis, gum disease, headaches, heart attack (treatment and prevention), high cholesterol, HIV/AIDS, hyperglycemia/diabetes, iron deficiency anemia, joint pain, joint problems (cartilage repair, disc degeneration, synovial fluid productions), kidney stones, leukemia, malaria, nerve regeneration, osteoporosis, premature birth prevention, respiratory ailments, rheumatoid arthritis, snoring, soft tissue injury (torn ligaments and tendons), spinal cord injury, sports injuries, venous leg ulcers, wound healing.
Adult (18 years and older)
Doses of 200-400 milligrams by mouth twice to three times daily, or 800-1,200 milligrams once daily have been used in studies. Higher doses (up to 2,000 milligrams) appear to have similar efficacy. In the treatment of osteoarthritis, full effects may take several weeks to occur.
It is not clear what dose is optimal when used in combination with glucosamine or whether the combination is as effective as or more effective than either agent alone.
For osteoarthritis, 50-100 milligrams as a single daily injection or divided into two daily injections has been used. Medical supervision is recommended.
Children (younger than 18 years)
There is no proven effective dose for chondroitin in children.
SafetyDISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.
Use cautiously if allergic or hypersensitive to chondroitin sulfate products. Use cautiously in patients with shellfish allergy, due to the possibility of allergic reaction. Hives, rash, sun skin sensitivity, and worsening of previously well-controlled asthma have been reported.
Side Effects and Warnings
Chondroitin sulfate appears to be well tolerated for up to three years.
Adverse effects that have been rarely reported or are theoretical include: headache, motor uneasiness, euphoria, hives, rash, photosensitivity, hair loss, breathing difficulties, subjective tightness in the throat or chest, exacerbation of previously well-controlled asthma, chest pain, elevated blood pressure, lower extremity edema, gastrointestinal pain/dyspepsia, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, transaminitis, increased risk of bleeding (theoretical), bone marrow suppression (animal research), and eyelid edema.
Avoid in individuals with prostate cancer, or at increased risk for prostate cancer, due to a risk of increased spread or recurrence of prostate cancer.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding