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Altern Med Rev. 1998 Feb;3(1):27-39.

The role of glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfates in the treatment of degenerative joint disease.


Successful treatment of osteoarthritis must effectively control pain, and should slow down or reverse progression of the disease. Biochemical and pharmacological data combined with animal and human studies demonstrate glucosamine sulfate is capable of satisfying these criteria. Glucosamine sulfate's primary biological role in halting or reversing joint degeneration appears to be directly due to its ability to act as an essential substrate for, and to stimulate the biosynthesis of, the glycosaminoglycans and the hyaluronic acid backbone needed for the formation of proteoglycans found in the structural matrix of joints. Chondroitin sulfates, whether they are absorbed intact or broken into their constituent components, similarly provide additional substrates for the formation of a healthy joint matrix. Evidence also supports the oral administration of chondroitin sulfates for joint disease, both as an agent to slowly reduce symptoms and to reduce the need for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. The combined use of glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfates in the treatment of degenerative joint disease has become an extremely popular supplementation protocol in arthritic conditions of the joints. Although glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfates are often administered together, there is no information available to demonstrate the combination produces better results than glucosamine sulfate alone.

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