What are the Benefits of Glucosamine Chondroitin MSM?

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Glucosamine chondroitin MSM is a nutritive option which may provide support to joints and connective tissues. It is often used to ease the pain of osteoarthritis, particularly for the knee according to the Mayo Clinic. It is the combination of three compounds, glucosamine, chondroitin and methyl sulphonyl methane (MSM).

Glucosamine chondroitin MSM capsules
Glucosamine chondroitin MSM capsules (Image: John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Glucosamine

The compound glucosamine exists in healthy cartilage. It is an important component in the body’s ability to make proteoglycans and glycosaminoglycans (GAG’s) which are compounds of cartilage. Normally, as the body moves, cartilage is worn away and reshaped. At rest, it resumes its normal shape and restores itself. If glucosamine levels are low, the repair process is slowed down. According to the Pain Clinic, taking glucosamine supplements can increase the body’s production of proteoglycans and GAG’s dramatically and improve the natural repair process.

Shoulder x-ray shows bones and cartilage
Shoulder x-ray shows bones and cartilage (Image: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Chondroitin

Chondroitin is actually chondroitin sulfate and is one of the glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). Molecules of chondroitin sulfate blend with proteins to make proteoglycans. Proteoglycans are essential to all connective tissue in the body such as cartilage, ligaments and tendons. Chondroitin supplements appear to increase the hyaluronic acid, an important part of the synovial fluid which is what lubricates joints. It also decreases pain and swelling.

Tendons connect muscle to bone; Ligaments connect bone to bone or cartilage to cartilage
Tendons connect muscle to bone; Ligaments connect bone to bone or cartilage to cartilage (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

MSM

MSM, which is methyl sulphynol methane, is a natural sulphur compound. Sulphur is a fundamental mineral used by the body to maintain the immune system, balance hormones, control the activity of enzymes and promote healthy joint function. Some research implies MSM can improve the flexibility of joints, while minimizing pain and swelling. It is thought to be able to reduce and soften scar tissue and break down calcium deposits while improving circulation.

MSM is used by the body to promote healthy joint function
MSM is used by the body to promote healthy joint function (Image: Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images)

Effects

Glucosamine chondroitin MSM improves the consistency of the synovial or lubricating fluid in joints. It reduces the swelling in the joint and decreases the associated pain. It enhances the body’s ability to repair cartilage and other connective tissues and improves flexibility. The effects of the three supplements working together is greater than if only one or two compounds were taken.

Digital composite of a man flexing his arm
Digital composite of a man flexing his arm (Image: Adam Gault/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Considerations

Taking the supplements separately is more costly than taking a combination tablet. Combination tablets or capsules also means having less tablets to take which makes it easier to maintain the regimen. Effects may not be felt for several weeks or even months as the body works to repair damage. Be careful of combination tablets that include other supplements that may not be necessary for joint health but may serve to inflate the price of the supplements.

Taking supplements
Taking supplements (Image: Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images)

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