Keep Arthritis from Getting Out of Hand
Chondroitin sulfate can lessen pain and improve function in people with hand osteoarthritis
Many adults suffer from osteoarthritis, an age-related degeneration of the joints. Hands are commonly affected, which can put a serious damper on day-to-day activities. Fortunately, researchers are homing in on ways to better manage hand osteoarthritis, and a dietary supplement may be one solution.
Savvy supplement study
Researchers invited 162 adults with symptoms of hand osteoarthritis (proven through x-rays) to participate in an investigation on how supplemental chondroitin sulfate may affect the condition.
Each person completed questionnaires to assess hand mobility and severity of hand pain, stiffness, and weakness. Participants recorded how much acetaminophen (familiar to many as the brand name Tylenol) they used to manage hand pain.
Participants were randomly selected to take 800 mg of chondroitin sulfate daily or a placebo pill (no chondroitin) for six months. At the end of six months, study participants completed the questionnaires again and their answers showed that, compared with the placebo group, those who took 800 mg of chondroitin sulfate daily had
There were no differences between the placebo and chondroitin groups in terms of grip strength or use of acetaminophen.
Getting a handle on hand arthritis
This study suggests that a daily chondroitin sulfate supplement can lessen pain and improve function in people with hand osteoarthritis. Chondroitin sulfate is considered safe for most people and has been used widely for many years without any reports of serious side effects. However, you should discuss all dietary supplement use with your doctor. In addition to chondroitin, a few additional measures may help you better manage hand osteoarthritis.
(Arthritis & Rheumatism, DOI 10.1002/art.30574; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Osteoarthritis. Accessed September 21, 2011. Available at www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/osteoarthritis.htm)
Suzanne Dixon, MPH, MS, RD, an author, speaker, and internationally recognized expert in chronic disease prevention, epidemiology, and nutrition, has taught medical, nursing, public health, and alternative medicine coursework. She has delivered over 150 invited lectures to health professionals and consumers and is the creator of a nutrition website acclaimed by the New York Times and Time magazine. Suzanne received her training in epidemiology and nutrition at the University of Michigan, School of Public Health at Ann Arbor.