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Chondroitin supplements come in natural form that is made from shark or cow cartilage. However, these days, most chondroitin supplement manufacturers produce the synthetic form, but are mostly similar in structure and effect.
In reality, chondroitin is naturally present in our body. It is a protein that is used to make new bones, cartilage and tendons, as well as to repair damaged ones. It is part of a protein molecule called proteoglycan that makes our cartilage elastic. Chondroitin is believed to facilitate pain-free movement by helping to draw fluids right into the cartilage, making them flexible and spongy.
Chondroitin supplements have been widely sold for the past two decades as dietary supplements. They are usually marketed as glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate supplements. Glucosamine is actually a form of an amino sugar that is seen to play a significant role in forming and repairing cartilage. They are usually extracted from lobster, crab or shrimp shells or synthesized in the laboratory as well.
Past studies have revealed that people taking glucosamine chondroitin tablets experience a great deal of pain relief from mild to moderate arthritis (or osteoarthritis). Its effect has been seen to be similar to that of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or aspirin that are usually prescribed by doctors. Thus, chondroitin glucosamine supplements are seen to be an alternative treatment for arthritis. It has also been seen to improve the functional status of those who suffer from knee or hip arthritis, and reduce joint stiffness and swelling. Interestingly, it has also been reported to relieve osteoarthritis symptoms for up to about 3 months after the treatment is stopped.
There are unfortunately no significant natural dietary sources of chondroitin, so they can only be taken through available supplements. While it is always best to consult your doctor about chondroitin supplementation, there is a recommended dosage for taking these supplements. Ordinarily, a dose of 1,200 to 1,500 mg per day taken orally in two or three doses is seen to be most effective.
Chondroitin supplements are relatively safe and free of any side effects when taken at the recommended dose, at least for a short period of time. However, there have been rare cases of mild stomach upset, intestinal gas and soft stools.
Because chondroitin supplements usually contain glucosamine, people who have diabetes should take extreme caution when taking this supplement. If you are one of them and have decided to take this chondroitin glucosamine supplements , you must make sure that you check your blood sugar level more frequently. Extra care must also be taken if you are allergic to shellfish, taking blood thinning medications or pregnant.
You have to know that the decision to take chondroitin supplements is trivial. These dietary supplements are usually unregulated such that the quality and the content can vary a great deal. If you are looking into alternatives to arthritis supplements, we recommend Xtend Life's Not Just Joints (formerly Arthrit-Eze). It contains natural ingredients that are safe to use, without any contraindications or side effects. It does not only relieve you of your arthritis pains, but promotes a healthier well-being and overall health.