Benefits of Chondroitin
Chondroitin is claimed to have several health benefits when used medicinally, such as treating osteoporosis, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Although there may be several benefits of chondroitin, this dietary supplement is primarily used for treating osteoarthritis. It is thought that chondroitin works to treat this condition by decreasing inflammation, increasing fluid within the joints, and stopping production of a cartilage-damaging enzyme.
Potential Chondroitin BenefitsChondroitin is a dietary supplement claimed to be useful for treating the following conditions:
This article focuses on the benefits of chondroitin for treating osteoarthritis (the most common use for this supplement).
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It is especially common in older people. It is what most people think of when they hear the term "arthritis." Osteoarthritis starts when cartilage begins to become ragged and wears away. Cartilage is the tissue that cushions bones in a joint. At its worst, the disease causes all of the cartilage in a joint to wear away, leaving bones that grate against each other. Researchers do not know the exact cause or causes of osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis symptoms often begin as mildly bothersome stiffness and mild pain that comes and goes with activities like walking, bending, or stooping. This can progress to severe joint pain that continues even when you rest or try to sleep. Sometimes, osteoarthritis causes your joints to feel stiff when you have not moved them in a while, but the stiffness goes away when you move the joint. Over time, this condition can also cause problems moving joints -- and sometimes disability -- if your back, knees, or hips are affected.
While there is no cure, osteoarthritis treatments can ease pain and improve function. A treatment plan can involve:
- Exercise (see Arthritis and Exercise)
- Medicines (see Osteoarthritis Medication)
- Other pain-relief options
- Surgery (see Hip Replacement or Knee Replacement)
- Alternative therapies (see Acupuncture for Osteoarthritis or Natural Cures for Arthritis).
(Click Living With Osteoarthritis or Diet for Osteoarthritis to learn more about managing this condition.)
Chondroitin is an attractive option for many people, as it seems unlikely to cause severe side effects and has the potential to actually slow down the progression of the disease. However, there is significant controversy about whether the supplement actually works (see Does Chondroitin Work?).