Caring for your bones and joints is incredibly important, particularly as you age. Many of us pay little attention to bone and joint health when we're young, as problems with the skeletal system often manifest later in life and show few warning signs in our 20s and 30s. However, it's beneficial not to forget about our bone and joint health.
In fact, many of us will suffer from arthritis in any number of its many forms if we ignore our skeletal health. According to the New Zealand Ministry of Health, half a million Kiwis suffer from arthritis, making it a top priority in preventative health care.
Eating a healthy diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, as well as maintaining a healthy weight and active lifestyle, can help you stave of rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. If you already suffer from the condition and are interested in slowing its progression and reducing painful side effects, you may want to consider supplementing with glucosamine and chondroitin.
Glucosamine and Chondroitin Information
Glucosamine and chondroitin may work together to help promote joint health. Both natural components of cartilage, they are thought to contribute to the strength of the joints. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), glucosamine is an amino sugar that is stored by the body within the cartilage, while chondroitin - often referred to as chondroitin sulfate or chondroitin sulfuric acid - allows the cartilage to stay lubricated by holding water.
Both of these substances can be obtained from the bodies of various animals. Glucosamine is commonly found in shellfish, while chondroitin may be found in the bodies of sharks and cows.
Glucosamine and Chondroitin Benefits
This duo of materials is thought to help support joint health and alleviate pain from arthritis, particularly osteoarthritis. If you suffer from the condition, some studies show that taking glucosamine and chondroitin may be effective for reducing pain.
A study conducted by researchers at the University of Utah School of Medicine examined the effects of glucosamine and chondroitin on osteoarthritis pain. The researchers studied the pain symptoms of 1,583 participants aged 40 and older who had exhibited osteoarthritis pain in their knee joints. The researchers separated the participants into groups and gave them glucosamine alone, chondroitin alone, glucosamine and chondroitin together, other painkillers, or a placebo poll.
The results were conclusive: A group of participants who were determined to be experiencing 'moderate-to-severe' pain saw a significant difference in their pain levels after taking glucosamine and chondroitin. In fact, 79 per cent of these participants had a reduction in pain by about 20 per cent.
Glucosamine and Chondroitin Side Effects
For most people, buying glucosamine and chondroitin online is a pretty safe bet, but there are a few caveats. In the University of Utah study, only 3 out of the 1,583 reported side effects that could be attributed to the study, and they were generally mild. The reported side effects were generally related to upset stomach.
One other note to be cautious of us that you shouldn't take glucosamine and chondroitin supplements if you have allergies to shellfish. Because glucosamine is often derived from these sea creatures, it could have harmful effects if you have this food allergy.
Of course, it's always best to consult with your doctor before beginning any new supplement routine. Pregnant and lactating women should speak to a doctor or midwife, and people already taking prescription medications should ask about potential reactions.