Glucosamine and Chondroitin – how does it work?


Inside your joints, cartilage undergoes a constant process of breakdown and repair. However, to be properly repaired, the building blocks of cartilage, glucosamine and chondroitin must be present and available.

Osteoarthritis is a condition that is caused by wearing out of the normal smooth cartilage surfaces of the joints. Often called wear-and-tear arthritis, osteoarthritis causes joint pain, swelling, and deformity.

What is glucosamine?

Glucosamine is a sugar naturally produced by the body. It is one of the building blocks of cartilage. Cartilage covers and protects the ends of the bones, allowing bones to move smoothly against each other. Glucosamine comes in two forms – glucosamine sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride. Glucosamine supplements are made from crab, lobster or shrimp shells. They are available as tablets or liquid and often in combination with chondroitin.

What is chondroitin?

Chondroitin is also a natural substance found in the body. It is believed to help draw water and nutrients into the cartilage, keeping it spongy and healthy. Chondroitin is available as chondroitin sulfate supplements, which are made from bovine (cow) or shark cartilage.

Results from a recent large-scale study showed that the combination of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate appeared to help people relieve moderate-to-severe pain from knee osteoarthritis and helps prevent or slow the breakdown of cartilage.

Dosage of 1500mg of Glucosamine sulfate (more effective than glucosamine hydrochloride) and 600 – 1000mg of Chondroitin daily give relief in as soon as 2 weeks however long term treatment has shown to be effective and with less side effects as taking NSAIDS (pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories).

As a naturopath I would also recommend using an anti-inflammatory diet and include supplementing with high dose omega 3 and curcumin to reduce inflammation along with appropriate exercise to improve mobility.

If you wish to discuss Naturopathic treatments for arthritic discomfort or any other health concerns contact me at Spinal and Sports Care for an appointment.

Yours in Good Health,

Mattia Sarpa BHSc Naturopath