Question: What is glucosamine and chondroitin and how effective are they in treating pain resulting from osteoarthritis?
Answer: Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are substances that have been shown to be very helpful for the management of the inflammation in arthritic pain.
What happens is that they are normal components of the joint tissue. When you inject them into the cavity of the joint, what they do is they stimulate the proliferation of certain cells and the production of anti-inflammatory substances and (stimulate) the regeneration of certain tissues into that particular joint. And that is the way they are very helpful.
Are there any side effects to it? Well every time that you put a needle into a joint, you are taking the risk of having an infection. If you have diabetes for example and you are prone to infections than this is a risk. However if it is done with care, then most likely you will be able to tolerate it. What they do also is they replace the synovial fluid into the joint.
So just imagine for a second, if you have one joint touching the other one and you don't have any fluid in between, they're going to hurt each other. There is going to be erosion of the bones. If you put the substances in they will help them, just the movement to be more smooth. And then there will be less deterioration or the deterioration will be slower.