Glucosamine Chondroitin Side Effects

Glucosamine and chondroitin have been used for many years, with minimal side effects particularly when compared with other forms of treatment such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID'S). Glucosamine and chondroitin are very popular products used by literally millions of people around the world and have undergone the scrutiny of 1000's of clinical trials with side effects that have at times been less than placebo.

Numerous double-blind placebo-controlled studies have been performed on glucosamine and chondroitin and the information shows glucosamine and chondroitin side effects to be very mild. Glucosamine occurs naturally in the body, so it is expected thatglucosamine would have fewer side effects than drugs that are notnaturally found in the body.

Indeed in some clinical trials the placebo sugar pill reportedly showed more side effects than the glucosamine and chondroitin.

Glucosamine and chondroitin side effects are minuscule compared to longterm use of over-the-counter medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen.These drugs should not be taken long term and can have very serious side effects. In the NewEngland Journal of Medicine it was reported that the drugs Advil,Motrin, Aleve, Aspirin and twenty others cause 16,500 deaths and103,000 hospitalizations per year. In contrast, glucosamine and chondroitinside effects do not cause any deaths or hospitalizations. It is safe tosay glucosamine chondroitin is safer to take than these drugs forosteoarthritis.

Although glucosamine chondroitin side effects are generally mild andrare in most people, certain individuals should be careful when usinng glucosamine and chondroitin.

By far the most common side effects relateto upsetting the gastrointestinal system. This includes soft stools,intestinal gas, nausea and some stomach pains. These side effects whereusually rare and transient in test groups. The gastrointestinal changesreduced when the product was stopped.

People who are allergic toshellfish should be aware that glucosamine is generally derived from shellfish. If you are allergic to shellfish you may develop an allergic reaction in glucosamine made from shell fish – so proceed with caution. There are forms of glucosamine that are suitable for those with a seafood allergy. The most popular being Eagle Pharmaceuticals Glucosamine 750.

Because glucosamine is a carbohydrate, a possible effect of glucosamine may be a change in blood sugar levels. If you are a diabetic you will need to closely monitor your blood sugar levels while taking glucosamine. Indeed any changes to dietary intake of carbohydrates (such as bread and pasta) will alter you blood sugar levels and may require modification of insulin based medication. For more information about diet effecting blood sugar levels read the article on Health Promoting Nutrition. If you are still uncertain about regulating your blood sugar levels be sure to consult with your health care professional. 

Glucosamineand chondroitin side effects have not been studied enough in pregnant womenor in children to provide a definitive opinion.

Some Very Rare Complications Include:

In a very small percentage of people taking chondroitin there can be a thinning of the blood and therefore increased bleeding time after an event such as surgery.

Chondroitin may increase the amount of time that blood takes toclot. When it is taken with antiplatelet or anticoagulant drugs, theeffect of the drug may be increased, resulting in a prolonged bleeding time.

  • Antiplatelets include clopidogrel and Ticlid.
  • Anticoagulants include heparin and warfarin. 
  • Aspirin canalso delay clotting, so chondroitin should not be taken orally at thesame time as aspirin. 
  • Theoretically, if chondroitin is used with other supplements that affect blood clotting, prolonged bleeding times may occur.

Ifyou are taking blood thinning medications, you should talk to yourhealth care professional before taking chondroitin because it may cause increased bleeding time and thinning of the blood in a very smallpercent of people taking chondroitin.

Another rare complication is that of a build up of pressureinside the eyes. In a few studies, often touted by the manufacturers of NSAID's, there were some infrequent cases of intraocular hypertension. It is not known whether this was related to chondroitin or not. Increased pressure in the eye is also noted in 'normal' population groups of people who are of the age of those who regularly participate in arthritis trials.

Overall, glucosamineand chondroitin have been used safely for many years with few reported sideeffects. Certain groups of people such as diabetics, those with allergiesto shellfish, pregnant women, and those taking blood thinners should be careful when taking glucosamine or chondroitin. But it is by no means contra-indicated in these groups.

As with all medications it is important to weigh up the benefits against the potentials costs. When compared with drug alternatives for painful arthritic conditions glucosamine and chondroitin will always come out on top. 

For most people, glucosamine and chondroitin are far safer to use than common over the counter medications such as Aspirin, ibuprofen or acetaminophen. In addition, glucosamine cand hondroitin helps to REBUILD THE CARTILAGE WITHIN JOINTS. Drug medication cannot.

Rebuilding the cartilage within damaged joints helps solve the problem instead of just masking it. The fact that it is a natural product and causes few side effects makes it a great supplement to take for the treatment and prevention of arthritis.