Before you start taking chondroitin, safety precautions for the supplement should be reviewed with your healthcare provider. For example, you may not be able to safely use this product if you have certain health conditions, such as asthma, prostate cancer, or a bleeding disorder. Chondroitin precautions and warnings also apply to people with certain allergies and to women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Is Chondroitin Safe?Chondroitin is a dietary supplement often used as an arthritis treatment, although it is sometimes used for other purposes as well. It appears to be safe for most people. However, you may not be able to take chondroitin safely if you have:
- Prostate cancer
- A bleeding disorder
- Any allergies, including allergies to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
You should also make sure to tell your healthcare provider about any other medicines you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Specific Warnings and Precautions With ChondroitinSome warnings and precautions to be aware of concerning the safety of chondroitin include the following:
- It has been reported that chondroitin may cause asthma attacks. If you have asthma, make sure to use this supplement with caution. Also, be sure to have your asthma medication ready if necessary. If your asthma is particularly severe, it might be best to check with your healthcare provider before taking chondroitin.
- Theoretically, chondroitin might increase the risk of prostate cancer. However, it is not known whether this is a true risk. If you have prostate cancer or are at high risk for it, check with your healthcare provider before taking chondroitin.
- Theoretically, chondroitin might increase the risk of bleeding, which could be especially dangerous in people who have a bleeding disorder or who take "blood thinners" (anticoagulants) or antiplatelet medications. Although human studies have not shown that chondroitin affects blood clotting, it is best to check with your healthcare provider if you have any bleeding problems or take any medication that increases the risk of bleeding.
- There is some concern that chondroitin supplements (which are often made from cow cartilage) could spread mad cow disease. However, there have been no reported cases of this occurring.
- Chondroitin supplements may interact with some medications (see Chondroitin Drug Interactions for more information).
- It is not known if chondroitin is safe for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding (see Chondroitin and Pregnancy or Chondroitin and Breastfeeding).
- If you decide to use supplements, what you see on the label may not reflect what is in the bottle. For example, some dietary supplements have been found to be contaminated with heavy metals or prescription drugs, and some have been found to have much more or much less of the featured ingredient than the label states. Therefore, make sure the manufacturer of your chondroitin product is a trusted and reputable manufacturer. It is a good sign if a product is USP-verified, meaning it meets certain criteria for purity, content, dissolution, and manufacturing. Your pharmacist is a good resource for information about which manufacturers are the most reputable.