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Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are oral supplements may relieve the pain of osteoarthritis. These are two large molecules that are found in the cartilage of our joints. Glucosamine, an amino sugar, is thought to promote the formation and repair of cartilage. Chondroitin, a carbohydrate, is a cartilage component that is thought to promote water retention and elasticity and to inhibit the enzymes that break down cartilage.

These substances can be particularly helpful in the early stages of osteoarthritis of the knee by reducing swelling and tenderness, as well as improving mobility and function.

Glucosamine supplements are derived from shellfish shells; chondroitin supplements are generally made from cow cartilage. Laboratory studies suggest that glucosamine may stimulate production of cartilage-building proteins. Other research suggests that chondroitin may inhibitproduction of cartilage-destroying enzymes and fight inflammation too. Many clinical studies have found that oral glucosamine may relieve arthritis pain and stiffness with fewer side effects than conventional arthritis drugs. No study so far has found any serious side effects from either glucosamine or chondroitin. Knowledgeable physicians can extract satisfactory and good results with judicious use of the drug.

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