Glucosamine chondroitin MSM is a combination of three complementary medicines which is used to promote joint health in conditions such as arthritis. Additionally, all three medicines can also be found as single drug preparations. The combination glucosamine chondroitin MSM is available in different countries known by different trade names, according to manufacturer. In most countries it is available as an over-the-counter preparation and different products may contain different strengths of the three ingredients.
Arthritis and osteoarthritis are commonly found inflammatory conditions which affect the joints and bones mainly in the older population, although younger people may be affected too. The most common symptoms are pain, inflammation, and difficulty of movement of the joints affected. Treatment may range from analgesia to exercise and, in severe cases, surgery. Glucosamine chondroitin MSM may be used by people suffering from arthritic conditions.
The three active ingredients - glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM - are thought to act together in conditions such as osteoarthritis, each working by a different mechanism. Glucosamine is a naturally occurring substance in the body which is involved in the production of cartilage. The supplement is thought to stimulate the repair and building of damaged cartilage. Chondroitin is also thought to be a building block of cartilage.
MSM, or methylsulfonylmethane, is a sulfur derivative which is thought to have a painkilling action. Many people with arthritis-type conditions suffer from severe and debilitating pain, and it is thought that the combination of glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM may work to both reduce the symptoms and the progression of these conditions. In most countries glucosamine chondroitin MSM is not registered, but rather sold as a complementary medicine.
As with any medication, be it a prescription drug or a complementary medicine such as glucosamine chondroitin MSM, it may interact with other medications. It is vital that people taking the supplement disclose this to their treating doctor, especially if they are prescribing other medications for the arthritic condition or any other clinical condition. It may also be contraindicated in people with some underlying clinical conditions and these should be discussed with the pharmacist or doctor before initiating treatment. Safety in pregnancy and lactation has not been established.
Taking the supplement may cause unwanted side effects, which include nausea, indigestion and headache. Should adverse effects be severe, advice should be sought from a health professional. Some chondroitin products are derived from shellfish so people suffering from a shellfish allergy should not take these supplements.