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Benefits of Glucosamine and Chondroitin for Osteoarthritis

Did you know that some clinical trials have reported more side effects caused by a sugar pill (placebo) than by glucosamine!

This is because glucosamine is a natural supplement already found in the human body. It’s there to build and maintain cartilage, tendons and other connective tissues of the body while inhibiting the growth of cartilage-destroying enzymes.

The biggest advantage of taking glucosamine is that it does not have any of the side effects commonly associated with NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) such as Aspirin or Ibuprofen, or COX-2 such as Celebrex, the drugs that have traditionally been used for the treatment of arthritis. Another benefit is that glucosamine is far cheaper (it costs about a dollar a day) than NSAIDs or COX-2 drugs. Lastly, long term use of glucosamine causes no harmful side effects, but long term use of COX 2 drugs and NSAIDS can cause ulcers, kidney failure, stroke and even heart attacks. Vioxx was removed from the market in 2004 due to the hundreds of thousands of strokes, heart attacks and other related events associated with its usage. Bextra was removed in 2005 for similar reasons.

Glucosamine works from within, bathing your joints in a warm and protective solution. The effect of stimulating the cartilage cells to produce more components is to aid in the formation and repair of the cartilage. This, scientists theorize, therefore seems likely to vastly improve the health of your joints. This supports the longevity of the cartilage and promotes joint health over time. Glucosamine also can act as a preventative measure, helping to ward off problems before they start.

The only disadvantage with Glucosamine is the fact that pain relief is a bit slow to take effect (do not expect instant results), slower than in the case of NSAIDs or COX-2 drugs, which work within hours. Keep in mind that NSAIDs and COX-2 drugs only serve as TEMPORARY pain-masking agents, while the healing effects of glucosamine are long lasting. The good news is that you can take NSAIDs while you are taking glucosamine and then wean yourself off of the NSAIDs. Many people report that they are able to reduce or eliminate their traditional pain relief medications (under the direction of their doctor) after taking glucosamine for a period of time of about two to four weeks, sometimes longer depending on the severity of joint pain and cartilage damage.

For immediate pain relief, some people combine glucosamine with traditional NSAIDS (aspirin, ibuprofen, etc.) drugs. Relief may take up to a month, or longer, to reach its full effect.