Most chondroitin appears to be made from extracts of cartilaginous cow and pig tissues and pig ear and nose, but other sources such as shark, fish and bird cartilage, are also used.
Chondroitin is regulated in the U.S. as a dietary supplement by the Food and Drug Administration. Which results in no guarantees that the product is correctly labelled. There are no mandatory standards for formulation.
Origin: Chondroitin is a component of human connective tissues found in cartilage and bone. In supplements, chondroitin sulfate usually comes from bovine trachea or pork by-products.
Dosage: Capsules, tablets and powder; 800 mg to 1,200 mg daily in two to four divided doses. Often combined with glucosamine. Allow up to one month to notice effect.
Claims: Reduces pain and inflammation, improves joint function and slows progression of OA.
What we know: Believed to enhance the shock-absorbing properties of collagen and block enzymes that break down cartilage. Helps cartilage retain water and may reverse cartilage loss when used with glucosamine.
Studies: A large NIH trial of glucosamine and chondroitin showed that the supplements are more effective for decreasing pain when combined than alone. A study of 300 people with knee OA who received either chondroitin alone or placebo showed that chondroitin may slow progression of knee OA. A review of more than a dozen studies showed significant improvement in pain and inflammation and improved joint function. Some taking it are able to decrease NSAID dosage.
Some chondroitin tablets may contain high levels of manganese, which may be problematic with long-term use. Because chondroitin is made from bovine products, there is the remote possibility of contamination associated with mad cow disease. Chondroitin taken with blood-thinning medication like NSAIDs may increase the risk of bleeding. If you are allergic to sulfonamides, start with a low dose of chondroitin sulfate and watch for any side effects. Other side effects include diarrhea, constipation and abdominal pain. ~Arthritis Foundation.
The European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) committee recently granted chondroitin sulfate a level of toxicity of 6 in a 0-100 scale, confirming it is one of the safest drugs for osteoarthritis. It's safety is supported by an absence of drug-drug interactions and the lack of safe alternatives for patients multi-medicated for osteoarthritis and other accompanying diseases, e.g. diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, etc.
If you are not sure whether to take this supplement or not, ask your health care-giver. He can answer your questions and give guidance and directions.
At times, when not knowing what to do, pray, ask God. He will give you answers, guidance and directions to the doors He opens.
1 Corinthians 2:10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.