Along with the hundreds of thousands in the U.S. who have total knee replacement surgery done every year, many more are held hostage by drugs — from risky OTC meds to terribly dangerous Rx ones — that they have to take daily, just to be able to function.
A study published in the BMJ (May 2017) discusses the benefits of the supplement chondroitin for painful knee joints. Chondroitin is typically derived from animal or fish cartilage and was found to be just as powerful as one of the most widely prescribed Rx drugs for arthritis.
Do you need glucosamine and chondroitin? If you have pain from knee arthritis, chondroitin may be the better choice. The researchers put chondroitin to a head-to-head test with one of the most commonly used Rx meds for the condition, Celebrex which is the only “COX-2 inhibitor” left on the pharmacy shelves (Vioxx and Bextra were taken off the market after untold numbers of patients suffered heart attacks and strokes after taking them).
Chondroitin is extremely safe, and was just as good as Celebrex at stopping pain and improving joint function. The study and experience with patients demonstrates that Celebrex kicks in faster, the improvements from taking 800 mg of chondroitin daily were just as effective after several weeks. And it continued to be as good as Celebrex right through to the end of the entire study.
Chondroitin should be offered to patients with knee arthritis as a first-line treatment.
There are, however, certain circumstances in which chondroitin supplements should be avoided. One is if you have an allergy to shellfish, especially shrimp, as many are derived from fish cartilage. Another is if you have prostate cancer, as some research has found that it may help prostate-cancer cells to spread.
And that’s where glucosamine can be taken instead. Glucosamine, which can also be made from shellfish (so check labels carefully if you’re allergic), has been the subject of numerous studies and found to be extremely effective for the pain and stiffness of arthritis.
While these two are most often found as a team in supplements, since they work even better together, you should still be able to find either glucosamine or chondroitin by themselves.
I use Laser therapy, massage and offer supplements for arthritis pain relief. This is the best non-drug, non-risky combination therapy for knee arthritis available. Call the office at 310-444-9393 to schedule an appointment.
“Chondroitin sulfate as good as widely used anti-inflammatory for knee osteoarthritis” BMJ, May 23, 2017.