Chondroitin is a component of connective tissue that is found in cartilage and bones. Chondroitin sulfate is a synthesized chemical form made from cow cartilage. Taking a daily dose appears to reduce joint pain and inflammation, improve joint function, and slow the progression of osteoarthritis. It enhances the shock absorbing capacity of collagen and blocks the enzymes which cause deterioration of cartilage. It may take up to one month to notice an effect. Precautions include high levels of manganese found in some formulations, which can cause health problems with long term use, remote possibility of contamination associated with mad cow disease, increased risk of bleeding if taken with blood-thinning medications such as NSAIDs and an allergic reaction. Side effects include diarrhea, constipation and abdominal pain.Photo: Getty Images
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