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Chondroitin is a structural component in cartilage, the tissue that cushions the joints. It is naturally produced in the body. Researchers have studied the effects of the supplement on osteoarthritis.

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› Health Benefits

A large osteoarthritis study showed a small benefit in patients with moderate to severe knee pain from taking a supplement containing glucosamine and chondroitin. Research on chondroitin alone has not shown it to be helpful for pain from knee or hip osteoarthritis.

Other studies have determined that chondroitin may have small beneficial effects on joint structure, but those improvements made little difference in patients.

Experts disagree on whether chondroitin helps knee and hip osteoarthritis. The American College of Rheumatology has recommended that people with knee or hip osteoarthritis not use it, but this recommendation was controversial. More research is needed in this area.

› How much do I need?

Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels, and consult your pharmacist, physician or other healthcare professional before using. No serious side effects have been reported in large, well-conducted studies of people taking chondroitin. However, chondroitin has been known to interact with the blood-thinning drug warfarin.

› Dietary supplements

Chondroitin sulfate is considered the most effective form of chondroitin for use as a supplement. It is usually manufactured from animal sources, such as shark or cow cartilage, but it can also be made in a laboratory.

Source: National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

Please consult your health care provider before making changes to your vitamin/supplement regimen.

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