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  Evaluated for:
Effectiveness Rating Effectiveness Rating
+1 (Slight Evidence)


  • Chondroitin sulfate is a building block of cartilage found naturally in our joints. It appears to stimulate formation of new cartilage, and also to inhibit enzymes that break down cartilage.
  • Chondroitin sulfate may play a role in maintaining the health of synovial fluid, the liquid that fills joint spaces.
  • When taken orally in appropriate doses, chondroitin sulfate has been used safely in studies lasting up to 6 years.
  • Chondroitin is usually well-tolerated.


  • Side effects include allergy, GI discomfort, excessive iron absorption, and bleeding when taken with coumadin.
  • Since chondroitin may be derived from bovine (cow) cartilage, there is some concern about contamination with diseased animals. Still, so far no reports exist of disease transmission to humans from contaminated chondroitin preparations.
  • No direct effect on prostate function or health has been seen with supplemental oral chondroitin sulfate. However, early research suggests that chondroitin may be associated with the spread or recurrence of prostate cancer through a related molecule called versican, which may facilitate invasion of cancer cells into prostate tissue. A similar effect may be operative in breast tissue.

Individuals at increased risk of, or with confirmed, prostate (male) or breast (female/male) cancers should avoid chondroitin. Chondroitin may increase the risk of bleeding in patients taking coumadin.

DOSAGE: Chondroitin is usually dosed at 800-1200 mg daily.

CONCLUSION: We conclude that chondroitin is a safe and possibly effective product for the treatment of osteoarthritis.

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