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Chondroitin Sulfate May Be Better Than Anti-Inflammatory Drug at Slowing Osteoarthritis

A recent study suggests that taking a daily supplement of chondroitin sulfate may be more effective than the anti-inflammatory drug celecoxib at supporting knee joint health and delaying the progression of osteoarthritis.

Participants in the study included 194 people with knee osteoarthritis with inflammation and moderate pain. The researchers conducted a double blind, controlled and comparative study.  The participants were randomly assigned to receive 1,2000 mg per day of chondroitin sulfate or 200 mg of celecoxib for 2 years.

The researchers performed three Quantitative Magnetic Resonance scans on the participant’s knees and found that the progression of knee osteoarthritis was slower in the individuals taking the chondroitin sulfate than in those taking the celecoxib. Upon further examination, they found that the supplement and the celecoxib were equally effective at reducing pain, stiffness, swelling, and joint efflux as well as increasing function. Both interventions reached a clinically relevant symptom improvement of approximately 50%.

Researchers from the Rheumatology Research Institute of Montreal conducted the study. It was presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Rheumatology on November 8, 2015.

Chondroitin is found in and around the cells of cartilage, and provides cartilage with strength and resilience. Previous research has found that chondroitin may help ease the pain of arthritis and osteoporosis, lower cholesterol and possibly help with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

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