Supplement shown to relieve arthritis pain in 79% of cases

Osteoarthritis: Exercising regularly can 'help with inflammation'

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Arthritis and other joint issues are fairly common in the UK, affecting around 10 million people. Depending on the problem you have it can cause pain, swelling, stiffness and difficulty moving. Although there is no cure currently, there are ways to help ease symptoms.

Alongside prescribed medication from your doctor, certain diets and exercises are known to help.

And some people also use supplements as a way to reduce inflammation and pain.

One “popular” supplement for this is glucosamine and chondroitin.

Each is a compound naturally occurring in healthy cartilage. While they can be taken separately it is common to find them as a combined supplement.

Together they are mainly used by osteoarthritis patients.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in the UK. It occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of your bones breaks down.

This causes pain, swelling and problems moving the joint. Bony growths can also develop, leaving the area swollen and red.

The Arthritis Foundation explains how taking glucosamine and chondroitin could benefit some patients.

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It says: “Glucosamine and chondroitin are natural compounds found in healthy cartilage — the connective tissue that cushions joints.

“Supplements are manufactured from the cartilage of animals such as cows, pigs or shellfish, or are made in a lab.

“In osteoarthritis, the gradual degeneration of cartilage leads to pain, swelling, and other symptoms.

“Glucosamine and chondroitin have anti-inflammatory properties.

“Glucosamine and chondroitin protect cells called chondrocytes, which help maintain cartilage structure.

“In theory, these supplements have the potential to slow cartilage deterioration in the joints, and to reduce pain in the process.”

One study, published in the Journal of Pain and Palliative Care Pharmacotherapy in 2008, found that the supplement was effective in reducing arthritis symptoms among patients with moderate to severe pain.

More specifically 79 percent of participants in this category reported a “greater reduction” in pain.

They estimated feeling about a 20 percent reduction in pain.

“For a subset of participants with moderate-to-severe pain, glucosamine combined with chondroitin sulphate provided statistically significant pain relief compared with placebo, about 79 percent had a 20 percent or greater reduction in pain verses about 54 percent for placebo,” it said.

A separate study, published in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases in 2016, found the combination of glucosamine and chondroitin was as effective at relieving knee osteoarthritis pain and swelling as celecoxib (an arthritis medication), without the side effects.

It said: “Chondroitin sulphate plus glucosamine hydrochloride has comparable efficacy to celecoxib in reducing pain, stiffness, functional limitation and joint swelling/effusion after six months in patients with painful knee osteoarthritis, with a good safety profile.”

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