Chondroitin sulfate is a natural component of cartilage. It is extracted from shark or cow cartilage or manufactured synthetically. It is frequently combined with glucosamine.
(See also Overview of Dietary Supplements Overview of Dietary Supplements Integrative medicine and health (IMH) and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) include healing approaches and therapies that historically have not been included in conventional, mainstream... read more .)
People most often take chondroitin sulfate by mouth for osteoarthritis Osteoarthritis (OA) Osteoarthritis is a chronic disorder that causes damage to the cartilage and surrounding tissues and is characterized by pain, stiffness, and loss of function. Arthritis due to damage of joint... read more . For arthritis, it is frequently taken along with glucosamine Glucosamine Glucosamine is extracted from a material (chitin) present in the shells of crabs, oysters, and shrimp. Glucosamine is taken in tablet or capsule form, usually as glucosamine sulfate, but sometimes... read more . Scientific evidence shows little benefit when chondroitin sulfate is taken by itself, although quality of life may improve. In Europe, pharmaceutical grade chondroitin, available by prescription, may help osteoarthritis symptoms. In the United States, evidence suggests that combined with glucosamine, chondroitin may reduce joint pain and improve joint mobility.
Possible side effects
Chondroitin sulfate seems to have no serious side effects. Among the most common side effects are stomach pain, nausea, and other digestive tract symptoms. However, unless the chondroitin sulfate is pharmaceutical grade, it has the potential to transmit infections with bacteria, viruses, or prions.
Possible drug interactions
Chondroitin sulfate may also increase the action of drugs that prevent blood clots (anticoagulants) such as warfarin.
More Information about Chondroitin Sulfate
The following is an English-language resource that may be useful. Please note that THE MANUAL is not responsible for the content of this resource.
National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: General information on the use of chondroitin sulfate as a dietary supplement