Supplements for Arthritis? Glucosamine and Chondroitin Also Knock Down Dangerous Chronic Inflammation

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supplements for arthritis

I’ve blogged many times about how Glucosamine and Chondroitin are great supplements for arthritis. Do they do other things as well? A new study now shows that they have other whole body anti-inflammatory effects as well.

One of the biggest medical stories of the last decade has been that we now understand that chronic inflammation is bad news. It’s responsible for cardiac disease, weight gain, Alzheimer’s disease, and arthritis. One of the most important inflammatory markers that’s now being measured via a simple blood test is C-reactive protein (CRP). In fact, the newest type of CRP test is called hsCRP for high sensitivity CRP. High levels of this inflammatory blood marker are associated with heart disease. Another interesting blood marker for chronic inflammation is PGE-M. This is a newer blood marker that has been associated with cancers that are inflammatory in nature (i.e. breast cancer).

Glucosamine and chondroitin are supplements that are traditionally associated with treating arthritis pain. However, a research group from Seattle has been studying other effects of these arthritis supplements for some time. For example, in 2012 they published a study of more than seventy thousand people showing that taking glucosamine (with or without chondroitin) was associated with 14% reduction in death rates from cancer and a whopping 41% decreased risk of dying from a respiratory disease! In this most recent study they looked at 217 men and women and conducted at home interviews to determine supplement usage. Blood levels of various inflammatory markers were taken at that same time. They found that high users of glucosamine and chondroitin (14 or more pills a week), had lower levels of blood markers for chronic inflammation. For chondroitin there was a 36% lower hsCRP and 27% lower PGE-M level when compared to non-users. High users of glucosamine had 28% lower hsCRP and 24% lower PGE-M.

The upshot? The research is beginning to emerge that glucosamine and Chondroitin have more to them than simple building blocks of cartilage. These simple supplements also seem to have a beneficial anti-inflammatory effect that may extend beyond your joints!

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Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications. View Profile

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