Chondroitin can reduce pain in Osteoarthritis

Author: Corinne Bett   Date Posted:15 February 2016 

Does it feel like you have osteoarthritis everywhere? Has it even got your funny bone feeling down? Not to worry, we’ve got some really good news for you! A review published this year by the Cochrane collaboration has found chondroitin to be an effective treatment for reducing pain associated with osteoarthritis, and assisting with maintaining cartilage in the joints.

What is Chondroitin?

Chondroitin is a naturally occurring substance in our bodies, called a glycosaminoglycan. Chondroitin sulfate makes up a part of our cartilage, and can also be found in bone, skin and the arterial wall. It is also found in a nutritional supplement form, and is derived from animal sources such as bovine trachea (cow), pig, shark cartilage and whale septum.

Please note: At Australian NaturalCare, our chondroitin sulfate is only derived from a bovine source, for ethical and sustainability reasons pertaining to shark and whale populations. 

Cartilage and Osteoarthritis

Cartilage is an important connective tissue located in our joints, such as our hip, knee, ankle and wrist. It is responsible for cushioning joints and enabling them to move more smoothly and easily. In osteoarthritis, the cartilage in our joints may become stiff and lose elasticity which can lead to damage, and the cartilage may wear away in some areas.

This diminishes the ability of cartilage to support the joint, and can lead to tendons and ligaments stretching which can cause pain. In more severe osteoarthritis, in the absence of cartilage, the bones can rub against one another in the joint, which can cause a serious amount of pain.

How can Chondroitin help with Osteoarthritis?

Chondroitin may assist Osteoarthritic conditions by:

  1. Restoring the fluid based portion of cartilage which prevents further cartilage degeneration and helps bring back the shock absorbing property in the joints.
  2. Providing the building blocks for the body to produce new cartilage (sulphur containing amino acids).
  3. Reduces pain associated with arthritis by improving the condition of the cartilage.

What about the review?

The review looked at the effects of chondroitin sulfate for people with osteoarthritis. It included 43 studies and 9110 participants, with the majority of studies being performed on knee osteoarthritis (with some on the hand and hip) over a time period of 1 month to 3 years.

  • Here’s what they found:
  • Chondroitin may improve pain in less than 6 months of taking it, and may improve knee pain by 20% in some individuals.
  • Chondroitin may improve quality of life as measured by Lequesne’s index (combined measure of pain, function, and disability).
  • Chondroitin slightly slows down the narrowing of joint space on X-rays of the affected joint, indicating positive effects on cartilage. Just goes to show, chondroitin is worth its weight in sulphur. So if your funny bone is not feeling so happy and you’re suffering from osteoarthritis, consider giving chondroitin a go for some relief and you’ll be laughing!
Written by Corinne Bett

Corinne spent her childhood helping her mother and grandfather in the garden grow various herbs and vegetables. This sparked a great interest in herbal medicine and nutrition in later life, and a passion for a wholefood diet. As a Naturopath today, she likes to empower others to utilise food as medicine, and live a healthy and balanced lifestyle. In her spare time she like to spend time in nature bushwalking and swimming, adventuring in far and exotic places, and dreaming about what kind of dog she might like to have one day.