There are numerous remedies available to people who suffer from joint pain caused by arthritis and other conditions. Many of these remedies are prohibitively expensive, which is why researchers have begun to study the health benefits of chondroitin, an over-the-counter supplement.
Usually paired with glucosamine, chondroitin is derived from animal cartilage and is intended to help replace some of the cartilage lost in arthritis and other conditions. Cartilage exists between the joints and provides a kind of cushion; when that cartilage is lost, the increased contact of the joints becomes painful.
Chondroitin benefits can include decreased pain and increased flexibility of the joints for those who see results, though researchers seem to agree that the chondroitin health benefits are questionable. Those who do experience an improvement may not actually be aided by the chondroitin itself, but by the suggestion of relief.
However, the general consensus of the research community seems to suggest that there is nothing harmful about the drug, and that some patients do see chondroitin benefits. Some patients experience immediate relief, while others say that the improvements occur over time when the drug is taken regularly.
EnergyFirst.com suggests that the health benefits of chondroitin may extend to relief of stiffness, reduced muscle pain and a decrease in inflammation. Of course, chondroitin health benefits are usually experienced when combining the drug with glucosamine and MSM.
Even though there are demonstrable chondroitin health benefits, physicians and researchers are not sure whether it is possible for an oral supplement to actually help rebuild cartilage. It is possible that there are other properties of the supplement that decrease joint pain, or that the placebo effect is really the catalyst for documented improvements.
As with any drug, whether prescribed or not, it is important to combine exercise and physical therapy to increase the health benefits of chondroitin. This means communicating with your physician to ensure maximum impact, and asking whether or not the supplement will interact unfavorably with any other medication you might be taking.
It is best to give the health benefits of chondroitin six to eight weeks to appear before you discontinue use. Many supplements take time to begin relieving pain and discomfort, so don’t assume that if symptoms remain after a few doses the drug won’t work for you.
It is also important to make sure you purchase supplements from a reliable provider. Many of the large vitamin and supplement manufacturers offer chondroitin in a variety of combinations with other medications, so look for brands you know and trust. The health benefits of chondroitin are not worth the negative side effects if you take improperly-prepared medication.