Heavy Duty Joint Repair: Glucosamine and Chondroitin Reduce Inflammation
Many people take glucosamine and chondroitin together osteoarthritis and other joint pains that occur with aging. Several clinical trials have shown that it helps reduce osteoarthritis pain, increases joint mobility and flexibility, and decreases joint swelling, stiffness and inflammation. It may also be beneficial for joint function, tissue repair and pain relief when cartilage damage has occurred due to sporting injuries. These treatments may help reduce doses of drugs such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs). The joint health supplement most commonly used by athletes and older individuals is glucosamine and chondroitin. Glucosamine sulfate provides the natural building blocks of healthy cartilage (compounds called proteoglycans and glycosaminoglycans) and helps stimulate the activity of cartilage cells. Research suggests that glucosamine acts in the body in a number of different ways, including stimulating the body’s manufacture of cartilage and inhibiting it’s breakdown, reducing inflammation, and enhancing production of one of the compounds responsible for the cushioning and lubricating properties of the synovial fluid that lines the joints. Like glucosamine, chondroitin is a structural component of cartilage and connective tissue . It is highly concentrated in the cell membranes of cartilage, where it helps transport fluid into the cartilage, providing the shock-absorbing capacity that enables healthy joints to function even when under pressure.
Studies suggest that chondroitin works to protect joints via numerous mechanisms, including nourishing cartilage, providing the raw materials needed for cartilage repair and inhibiting enzymes that contribute to cartilage damage. It also has anti-inflammatory properties. The majority of research suggest that glucosamine and chondroitin work synergistically. A recent clinical trial titled, “Glucosamine/chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (GAIT)” which was sponsored by the National Institute of Health, studied the effects of the supplements in 1,583 people with osteoarthritis. The results, published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine (2006, Vol. 354, pp. 795-808), indicated that the combination of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate “significantly decreased” knee pain for people suffering from moderate-to-severe osteoarthritis.
A new study has recently found that a combination of glucosamine and chondroitin reduces inflammation in healthy adults. The glucosamine-chondroitin combination was also associated with significant reductions in the inflammatory ‘cytokine activity’ pathway, compared to placebo, according to findings published in PLoS One. A new twist on the health benefits of glucosamine and chondroitin is that it may reduce the risk of heart disease and other diseases associated with inflammation. The study found that the combination of glucosamine hydrochloride and chondroitin sulfate may slash levels of C-reaction protein , a key biomarker of inflammation by an impressive 23%, compared to placebo. The researchers recruited 18 healthy overweight men and women and randomly assigned them to receive a combination of glucosamine hydrochloride (1,500 mg/day) and chondroitin sulfate (1,200 mg/day) or placebo for 28 days. Results showed that CRP levels were reduced by an average of 23% after glucosamine/chondroitin, compared to placebo. Analysis of gene set enrichment also found that cytokine activity and other inflammation-related pathways were significantly decreased after the glucosamine/chondroitin supplementation period. This new study is the first to find that the combination of glucosamine and chondroitin reduces the CRP and also other inflammatory cytokine genes.
Source: PLoS One: “Randomized Trial of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Supplementation on Inflammation and Oxidative Stress Biomarkers and Plasma Proteomics Profiles in Healthy Humans” Authors: S.L. Navarro, E. White, E.D. Kantor, et al.