Tuesday, 9 March 2010

A REPLACEMENT THERAPY FOR HUMAN CARTILAGE?

Some of you may not be familiar with the terms Glucosamine sulphate and chondroitin. They sound medical and scientific and are not usually heard in everyday conversations. Simply put, though, they are substances that are naturally found in the body. Their function includes playing a role in cartilage formation and repair. Chondroitin sulfate actually plays a role in cartilage elasticity.
Even though they are naturally found in the human body, both substances are also marketed as dietary or nutritional supplements. These are extracted from animal tissues such as those from crab, lobster and shrimp shells for glucosamine. Chondroitin sulfate, on the other hand, can be obtained from animal cartilage such as tracheas or shark cartilage.
It is said that taking these supplements have positive effects for people suffering from osteoarthritis. The effects are similar to drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen, both anti-inflammatory drugs. Correlated with their role in the body when it comes to building and maintain cartilage, these nutritional or dietary supplements are also said to help slow down the deterioration of cartilage in the human body. They are apparently popular not only among those suffering from osteoarthritis or other forms of cartilage and joint conditions but also with athletes. Athletes use them mainly to help maintain their joints and soothe inflammation particularly if they are subjected to heavy training. Also, certain training may cause a breakdown in the joints and place athletes at a higher risk for osteoarthritis.
Even if they are supplements and not really classified as drugs, care should also be taken when one is considering consuming them. A proper dosage can be consulted with your doctor. It is cited that in studies, only 1,500 mg of glucosamine was used and 1,200 mg was used on a per day basis. There are also side effects that may be encountered when taking Glucosamine sulphate and chondroitin nutritional supplements. Some of those identified and cited are increased intestinal gas and softened stools. They are also not recommended for children and for pregnant women. Another group of people cautioned when it comes to taking the supplements are those who are diabetic. This is mainly with regards to glucosamine, which is an amino sugar. It does not state that those with diabetes cannot take them but they are urged to have their blood sugar taken more often should they take this supplement. Chondroitin sulfate, on the other hand, have blood thinning properties and people taking other blood thinning medication should have their blood clotting checked. Also, those allergic to shellfish may also want to consult their doctor first.
All in all, the interest in Glucosamine sulphate and chondroitin may be due to the fact that there are many people who would like to solve osteoarthritis because it is said that the steroids and drugs normally taken only serve to cure the symptoms and not really the roots of the disease. This is what doctors and patients may be hoping the supplement can do. Still, more studies are underway with regards to this.

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