Dietary supplements

Dietary supplements


Many patients take some kind of dietary supplement to prevent osteoarthritis, or to alleviate arthritic pain. The two most widely known and used drugs are glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate.


Glucosamine is a naturally occurring molecule in the human body and it is believed to augment the production of cartilaginous tissues. Chondroitin sulfate is also a natural component of the human cartilage tissue, and is supposedly inhibits degradation of the cartilage and supplements production of it. These drugs are usually extracted form animal skeletal tissues, especially from sharks that have special cartilaginous skeleton.




In different countries these drugs are recognized distinctly (prescription drugs in few countries, and/or over-the-counter drugs). Many large studies were conducted to assess the effectiveness of these dietary supplements, and some studies proved them to be fairly beneficial in osteoarthritis. In a study, where patients were taking glucosamine continuously for two years the space narrowing in the knee joint (the x-ray sign of cartilage degradation) was significantly slower than in the control group.  Patients usually are recommended that these drugs be taken for 2 months and it be repeated 2-4 times a year.



Before taking any medication, one must consider the followings:


  • always consult with your practitioner to avoid unwanted reactions with other drugs or conditions  (diabetes, pregnancy)


  • do not purchase drugs with unknown origin, or with non/reliable production facts -pharmacists will help you pick the right medication for you


  • do not discontinue your other drugs you take for osteoarthritic pain immediately, as dietary supplements usually need weeks or 1-2 months to build up its full effect.


  • if you experience anything abnormal visit your clinician for consultation.
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