by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR
Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.
Click here: Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit
Glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate are ingredients found in normal cartilage.
Currently available treatments don't slow the progression of osteoarthritis. Because these supplements may stimulate the production of new cartilage, it is thought they may be able to help the body repair damaged cartilage. A study conducted in 2001 from Belgium showed that glucosamine appears to slow the progression of osteoarthritis of the knee and relieves symptoms such as pain and loss of function in a majority of patients.
The supplements, which are available in pharmacies and health food stores without a prescription, are well tolerated and appear to be safe. However, there are no long-term studies to confirm their long-term safety and effectiveness.
There are many different brands of glucosamine and chondroitin, which are usually sold as a combination supplement. Unfortunately, there is no government monitoring to ensure the purity of these products.
In order to assure that you get a consistent dose of the supplements, get the product from a reputable manufacturer.
People with diabetes should use caution when taking glucosamine because it can raise blood sugar. People taking blood-thinning medication (anticoagulants) should consult their doctors before taking glucosamine and chondroitin.
These supplements may also have a blood-thinning effect so people taking these supplements in addition to an anticoagulant may have to have their blood monitored more frequnetly. People who are allergic to shellfish also should consult their doctors before using glucosamine and chondroitin. Glucosamine is extracted from a substance in shellfish.
The effects of these supplements on a fetus or in small children are not yet known. For that reason, glucosamine and chondroitin are not recommended for children, women who are pregnant and women who could become pregnant.
Glucosamine is considered relatively safe when taken in recommended dosages. However, some glucosamine side effects can occur.
The most commonly reported side effects of glucosamine and chondroitin include:
• Diarrhea or constipation
• Increased intestinal gas
MSM is an odorless and tasteless natural sulfur compound found in abundance in nature. Sulfur is needed for the production of healthy connective tissue and joint function. There have been claims it has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.
While MSM is found in many foods -- including meat, fish, certain fruit, vegetables and grains -- it is destroyed when foods are processed. Dietary supplements of MSM have become increasingly popular. Although some studies have reported improvement in pain with MSM, very few rigorous scientific studies have been done to support its use for arthritis. Nonetheless, some recent well-done studies have indicated effectiveness.
People with sulfa allergies should exert caution since MSM comes in organic sulfur form.
Moreover, as with many supplements that have not been studied, the long-term benefits and safety of the chemical are unknown.
MSM is considered safe, and side effects are very rare. Side effects that have been reported include:
• Skin rash
Get more information about glucosamine-side-effects-msm and related issues as well as...
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