Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and affects over 20 million Americans each year. While osteoarthritis is typically associated with the natural aging process of joints that is to be expected with normal wear and tear over time, there are natural remedies available that have robust clinical data to support their use in osteoarthritis.
Chondroitin sulfate is a glycosaminoglycan that is found in cartilage and the extracellular matrix of bone and joining spaces. It has key functions in the regulation of cell development, cell adhesion, differentiation, and proliferation. When taken with glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate has been shown to have clinical benefits in osteoarthritis of the hands, knees, hips, and back. This synergistic relationship between glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate has been well studied for its effects on alleviating arthritis pain, inflammation, and reducing the risk of joint space narrowing.
The clinical data supporting this synergistic combination for osteoarthritis is highlighted by a landmark 2006 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine by Clegg, et al. This study followed 1583 patients with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis, randomized into groups that received glucosamine daily, chondroitin sulfate daily, both glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, 200 mg of celecoxib daily, or placebo for 24 weeks.
Compared to the placebo group, the patients that received glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate experienced a 6.5% higher response rate to treatment for knee osteoarthritis pain. Studies such as this one by Chegg, et al. have shaped the knee osteoarthritis guidelines of associations such as the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) and the American College of Rheumatology, both of which recommend the use of chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine in select patients with knee OA.