Arthritis is a common condition which affects more than 10 million people in the UK, according to the NHS. It can affect people of all ages, causing symptoms such as joint pain, tenderness and stiffness, inflammation in and around the joints, restricted movement of the joints, warm, red skin over the affected joint, and weakness and muscle wasting. There’s currently no cure for the condition, but doctors usually recommend medication, physiotherapy and surgery to reduce pain and inflammation. However some experts say keeping your levels topped up with a certain natural compound can offer relief.
A 2015 Cochrane review, which looked at 43 studies involving 9,110 people, found chondroitin could help improve quality of life for people with arthritis.
This included helping with joint stiffness and a slight improvement on the narrowing of joint space that is associated with the condition.
Furthermore, a 2015 study in Scientific Reports found glucosamine (another natural compound found in cartilage) and chondroitin together were more effective at relieving symptoms for people with knee arthritis than taking chondroitin on its own.
Holland & Barrett explains what it is: “Chondroitin is one of the building blocks of cartilage – the tough tissue that acts as a shock absorber around the joints in humans and animals.
“It’s chondroitin’s job to help your cartilage hang on to water – increasing its elasticity.
“Chondroitin is also found in tendons, ligaments, bone and skin.”
Chondroitin is available in tablets, capsules and patches, and is often combined with glucosamine.
The National Institute for Care and Excellence (NIC) doesn’t currently recommend chondroitin for the treatment of osteoarthritis.
But if you decide to take it, the high street health store advises: “Recent trials have seen adults take doses of 800-1200mg of chondroitin sulphate per day, often divided into smaller doses.
“But be on the safe side, always follow the recommendations on your product label, and speak to your GP before you start taking chondroitin if you have any questions.”
Another supplement recommended to help relieve painful symptoms of arthritis is turmeric.
Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, taking the orange-coloured spice could be the answer to your painful joint problems.
Arthritis Foundation explains: “Curcumin is the chemical in turmeric that can reduce joint pain and swelling by blocking inflammatory cytokines and enzymes.
“A 2010 clinical trial using a turmeric supplement showed long-term improvement in pain and function in patients with knee osteoarthritis.
“A small 2012 study using a curcmin product, BCM-95, showed more reduced joint pain and swelling in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis when compared to diclofenac sodium.”
Omega-3 supplements may also help ease arthritis pain.