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Does chondroitin help with cartilage growth?

2017 February 24

Question:
I have hip and knee wear. Does chondroitin help with cartilage growth?

Answer:
As far as we know, chondroitin (and glucosamine) do not assist with cartilage growth. In any case, it’s not proven by scientific research. What has been proven is that both products can inhibit the degradation or wear of the cartilage (a.k.a. osteoarthritis) significantly. On average, the cartilage wears by a factor of 4 to 5 less.[chondroitine-rechts]

There has been a study (STOPP-study), where 500 people were followed for two years. One half took chondroitin and the other half took a bogus product.

In the latter group, the joint space was measured with x-rays: it was 0.28 mm smaller. In the group that took chondroitin it was 0.07 mm, so four times less wear. A similar research result has been achieved with glucosamine (factor of 5 less wear). However, these are averages: of course the results vary per person.

So chondroitin and glucosamine can play an important role in the inhibition of osteoarthritis. Glucosamine also has a pain relieving effect, in case of painful joints due to osteoarthritis. In that case glucosamine can be recommended (may be in combination with chondroitin). With only preventive care, if there isn’t any pain yet, chondroitin is more favorable.

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