Benefits of Glucosamine and Chondroitin
Glucosamine is an amino sugar naturally found in the human body. It is important for the production of certain proteins, lipids (fatty molecules), and other substances in the human body. Most researchers think that glucosamine works for arthritis in several ways, such as by:
- Decreasing inflammation
- Stimulating chondrocytes, the cells that make and maintain cartilage
- Decreasing the production of certain compounds that degrade cartilage.
Chondroitin is a molecule naturally found in the human body (as well as in many animals). It is part of a group of very large molecules known as glycosaminoglycans. Researchers think that chondroitin might work for arthritis in several ways, such as by:
- Inhibiting a cartilage-damaging enzyme known as leukocyte elastase
- Decreasing inflammation (by changing the way certain white blood cells respond to certain chemical signals)
- Increasing the production of hyaluronic acid, a component of synovial fluid (the lubricating fluid in joints) and of cartilage.
It is not known if glucosamine and chondroitin supplementation is safe for children. As with many medications or supplements, children may be more sensitive to the effects and toxicities of glucosamine and chondroitin. If you are interested in giving your child this supplement, be sure to discuss the risks and benefits of using glucosamine and chondroitin with your child's healthcare provider.