According to WebMD, the body’s cartilage contains the substance chondroitin. Chondroitin is also available as a supplement in pill form, sometimes in combination with glucosamine or hyaluronic acid. People take chondroitin for a variety of potential health benefits, and the recent research has proven that chondroitin is effective and has a positive impact on health and well-being. Chondroitin shows promise in the treatment of conditions ranging from joint pain to acid reflux.
Chondroitin for Joint Pain
The research shows that chondroitin is effective for individuals with joint pain, particularly when taken in combination with glucosamine. Researchers from Chiba University and the University of Tsukuba in Japan conducted a study with individuals with knee pain for publication in a 2016 edition of Aging Clinical and Experimental Research. Adults participating in the study took either a placebo pill or a combination of chondroitin and glucosamine every day for 24 weeks, and those taking the chondroitin and glucosamine experienced a significant improvement in the use of their knees. A combination chondroitin and glucosamine supplement could be taken to improve quality of life among individuals suffering from joint pain.
UTI Prevention with Chondroitin
Women who experience recurring urinary tract infections (UTI) could benefit from chondroitin. Scientists affiliated with Leicester General Hospital in the United Kingdom and the Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands reviewed eight studies that evaluated the effect of a combination of chondroitin and hyaluronic acid on a group of women who had experienced a UTI in the past. The results of the review, which were published in a 2017 edition of the International Urogynecology Journal, showed that supplementation with chondroitin and hyaluronic acid resulted in a reduced rate of UTI among the study participants as well as a lengthening of the time before the women experienced another episode of UTI. Women who tend to develop UTI could take a chondroitin supplement that also contains hyaluronic acid as a preventative measure.
Chondroitin for Protection from Heart Disease
Animal research suggests that chondroitin could be effective for reducing cholesterol and therefore preventing heart disease. Researchers from the Fisheries Research Institute of Fujian in China conducted a study for a 2017 edition of the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine and found that chondroitin reduced levels of artery-clogging triglycerides and LDL cholesterol and increased healthy HDL cholesterol among mice with elevated cholesterol levels. The chondroitin supplement was also found to restrain weight gain and prevent the development of a fatty liver. Based on this research, chondroitin could be effective for maintaining cholesterol levels within a healthy range and for reducing elevated cholesterol levels without medication.
Chondroitin in Osteoarthritis
The research has found chondroitin alone to be effective among patients with osteoarthritis. A 2011 study primary conducted by researchers from the University of Montreal Hospital Research Center and published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases compared the effects of chondroitin to placebo treatment among individuals with osteoarthritis. Study results demonstrated that compared to the placebo, chondroitin prevented the loss of cartilage among the patients with osteoarthritis. Chondroitin therefore appears to exert a protective effect and could be useful for patients with this condition.
Acid Reflux Treated with Chondroitin
Chondroitin could provide relief to those who suffer from acid reflux. Researchers from the University of Parma, the Bolognini Teaching Hospital, and the University of Genoa in Italy conducted a study to assess the effects of chondroitin in patients with reflux disease; it was published in a 2017 edition of Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics. For two weeks, the study participants consumed either a placebo or a supplement consisting of chondroitin and hyaluronic acid along with their typical medications. Study results indicated that the supplement was more effective than the placebo was for reducing reflux symptoms and improving the patients’ quality of life. Combination supplements containing chondroitin and hyaluronic acid seem to enhance the effects of standard reflux medications.
Reflux is just one of several conditions that chondroitin supplements can treat, as this substance has also shown usefulness for treating knee pain, preventing UTI and cartilage loss, and reducing cholesterol. Chondroitin can serve as a treatment for these various ailments, and it seems especially effective when used in combination with other substances. Patients suffering from the conditions that chondroitin treats should typically look for combination supplements to achieve the best results; however, chondroitin on its own appears to be effective for reducing cholesterol and for suppressing cartilage loss among patients experiencing osteoarthritis.