Chondroitin Side Effects

Although chondroitin is a "natural" product, it is not free of side effects. Some of the side effects that were reported in studies included nausea, diarrhea, and hair loss. While it is not likely to cause serious problems in most people, contact your healthcare provider right away if you develop any serious side effects of chondroitin, such as heart palpitations or swollen eyelids.

Does Chondroitin Cause Side Effects?

Chondroitin is a dietary supplement typically used as an osteoarthritis treatment. In general, this product is not likely to cause serious side effects in most people. However, some chondroitin side effects have been reported.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with chondroitin. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of chondroitin side effects with you.)

Reported Side Effects of Chondroitin

Side effects of chondroitin reported in studies included:
  • Nausea
  • Pain in the middle upper abdomen (such as you might feel with acid reflux)
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Swollen ankles or feet
  • Hair loss
  • Heart palpitations or a feeling that your heart has skipped a beat.
It is a good idea to let your healthcare provider know if you experience any possible problems with chondroitin, however minor they may seem. You should definitely report any serious, unusual, or distressing side effects, such as heart palpitations or swollen eyelids.
There is some concern that poorly prepared chondroitin could be contaminated with mad cow disease, as many chondroitin supplements are made from cow cartilage. However, there have been no reports of mad cow disease due to these supplements.
There is also some concern that chondroitin could increase the risk of bleeding, especially in people who have a bleeding disorder or who take "blood thinners" (anticoagulants) or antiplatelet medications. Although this risk seems quite small (perhaps nonexistent), make sure to watch for any unusual bruising or bleeding while taking this product.
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