Over the past decade, the natural supplement chondroitin has risen into discussion about treating joint pain. It is often teamed with glucosamine for this effect. A great piece of health news has just come out, suggesting that chondroitin sulfate improves hand function and relieves morning stiffness caused by osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis is the world’s leading cause of joint pain. It is caused by the gradual deterioration of cartilage in a joint. The disease affects more than 27 million adults in the U.S., causing pain and stiffness. Approximately 10% of the world population, 60 years and older, have symptomatic osteoarthritis. And prior studies have found that 20% to 30% of adults have osteoarthritis of the hand, with the prevalence rising to more than 50% after 60 years of age.
Yet, while this condition is so prevalent, and can impact life so much, therapeutic options are limited. And few studies are examining therapies specific to hand osteoarthritis. On both of those notes, let’s dive into the new study.
The study shows that chondroitin sulfate significantly decreased pain and improved hand function in patients with osteoarthritis of the hand. Published in “Arthritis & Rheumatism,” the study went on to report that the natural supplement improved grip strength and relieved morning stiffness.
The study included 162 patients who suffered spontaneous hand pain and limited function in that hand. Participants received either 800 milligrams of chondroitin sulfate (80 patients) or placebo (82 patients) once daily for six months.
Results showed that patients in the chondroitin group had significant decrease in global hand pain compared with the placebo group. Hand function also improved significantly for those taking chondroitin. Researchers also reported significantly improved hand function and reduction in morning stiffness for those on chondroitin.
It seems to be a safe and effective treatment for people suffering this nagging form of joint pain. It leads to similar effects as seen in popular pain relief drugs, although it doesn’t carry their long-term toxic side effects. Chondroitin sulfate is a naturally occurring molecule and a main component of joint cartilage.