Chondroitin sulfate is a molecule that is found naturally in the body. It has mostly been used to treat joint disorders, such as osteoarthritis, and problems with the chewing muscles and joints.
Clinical trials on the use of chondroitin for osteoarthritis have found promising results. However, most of the studies are conducted for less than two years. Adequate assessment of long-term safety, side effects, and effectiveness is lacking.
Early evidence suggests that chondroitin sulfate may improve the absorption of iron and measures of coronary artery disease. However, more research is needed in these areas.
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Combination products examples: CystoProtek® (chondroitin sulfate, sodium hyaluronate, quercetin), Mega-Gluflex (glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate), Optisol® (chondroitin sulfate and dextran), Viscoat® (chondroitin sulfate and sodium hyaluronate).
Note: This bottom line monograph does not include in-depth information about glycosaminoglycans (GAGs).
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Chondroitin sulfate is considered a promising treatment for osteoarthritis. It is most often used to treat osteoarthritis of the finger, knee, hip joints, low back, and facial joints. Research has mostly focused on knee osteoarthritis, with fewer studies conducted on other joints. Clinical trials suggest that chondroitin may have significant effects when compared to placebo. Chondroitin is a slow-acting medication that may lead to reduced doses of other drugs. However, adequate assessment of long-term safety, side effects, and effectiveness is lacking.
Chondroitin sulfate is considered a promising treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee. It is also most often used to treat osteoarthritis of the finger, hip joints, low back, and facial joints. Clinical trials suggest that chondroitin may have significant effects when compared to placebo. Chondroitin is a slow-acting medication that may lead to reduced doses of other drugs. However, adequate assessment of long-term safety, side effects, and effectiveness is lacking.
Research suggests that chondroitin may benefit people who have overactive bladder. Sodium chondroitin sulfate may be as effective as overactive bladder drugs. More evidence is needed before firm conclusions can be made.
A study reports that chondroitin sulfate may benefit people who have Kaschin-Beck disease, which affects the bone and causes joint pain or stiffness. Further study is needed in this area.
Coronary artery disease
Chondroitin is believed to improve symptoms and mortality of coronary artery disease. Long-term trials involving larger groups of people are needed. However, chondroitin may have benefits when used with conventional therapy.
Chondroitin may be found in some products used to treat eye disorders, such as dry eyes and cornea inflammation. However, studies suggest that there may be a lack of difference between products that contain chondroitin and those that do not for dry eye treatment. More research is needed in this area.
Interstitial cystitis (bladder wall inflammation)
Early research suggests that chondroitin may benefit people who have inflammation of the bladder wall. More evidence is needed before a firm conclusion may be made.
Iron absorption enhancement
Early evidence suggests that taking chondroitin and iron together may help improve iron absorption in healthy people. More research is needed in this area.
Chondroitin sulfate may reduce pain and inflammation, and has been studied for sore muscles. However, one study found a lack of effect on soreness before and after exercise. More research is needed to confirm these results.
Studies suggest that chondroitin sulfate may improve symptoms of psoriasis, a condition causing skin redness and irritation. More research is needed in this area before firm conclusions can be made.
Urinary tract infection
Early research suggests that a combination of hyaluronic acid and chondroitin may help prevent urinary tract infections in women with recurring infections. More research is needed in this field.