Evidence

These uses have been tested in humans or animals.  Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven.  Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Key to grades

A
Strong scientific evidence for this use
B
Good scientific evidence for this use
C
Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D
Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work)
F
Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work)

Grading rationale

Evidence gradeCondition to which grade level applies
A

Osteoarthritis (general)

Chondroitin sulfate is considered a promising treatment for osteoarthritis. It is most often used to treat osteoarthritis of the finger, knee, hip joints, low back, and facial joints. Research has mostly focused on knee osteoarthritis, with fewer studies conducted on other joints. Clinical trials suggest that chondroitin may have significant effects when compared to placebo. Chondroitin is a slow-acting medication that may lead to reduced doses of other drugs. However, adequate assessment of long-term safety, side effects, and effectiveness is lacking.
A

Osteoarthritis (knee)

Chondroitin sulfate is considered a promising treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee. It is also most often used to treat osteoarthritis of the finger, hip joints, low back, and facial joints. Clinical trials suggest that chondroitin may have significant effects when compared to placebo. Chondroitin is a slow-acting medication that may lead to reduced doses of other drugs. However, adequate assessment of long-term safety, side effects, and effectiveness is lacking.
B

Frequent urination

Research suggests that chondroitin may benefit people who have overactive bladder. Sodium chondroitin sulfate may be as effective as overactive bladder drugs. More evidence is needed before firm conclusions can be made.
C

Bone diseases

A study reports that chondroitin sulfate may benefit people who have Kaschin-Beck disease, which affects the bone and causes joint pain or stiffness. Further study is needed in this area.
C

Coronary artery disease

Chondroitin is believed to improve symptoms and mortality of coronary artery disease. Long-term trials involving larger groups of people are needed. However, chondroitin may have benefits when used with conventional therapy.
C

Eye disorders

Chondroitin may be found in some products used to treat eye disorders, such as dry eyes and cornea inflammation. However, studies suggest that there may be a lack of difference between products that contain chondroitin and those that do not for dry eye treatment. More research is needed in this area.
C

Interstitial cystitis (bladder wall inflammation)

Early research suggests that chondroitin may benefit people who have inflammation of the bladder wall. More evidence is needed before a firm conclusion may be made.
C

Iron absorption enhancement

Early evidence suggests that taking chondroitin and iron together may help improve iron absorption in healthy people. More research is needed in this area.
C

Muscle soreness

Chondroitin sulfate may reduce pain and inflammation, and has been studied for sore muscles. However, one study found a lack of effect on soreness before and after exercise. More research is needed to confirm these results.
C

Psoriasis

Studies suggest that chondroitin sulfate may improve symptoms of psoriasis, a condition causing skin redness and irritation. More research is needed in this area before firm conclusions can be made.
C

Urinary tract infection

Early research suggests that a combination of hyaluronic acid and chondroitin may help prevent urinary tract infections in women with recurring infections. More research is needed in this field.

Uses based on tradition or theory

The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Aging, allergies, Alzheimer's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (disease of nerve cells that control muscle movement), antioxidant, antiviral, blood clots, bone healing, breast cancer, burns, cervical disc disease, chest pain, chronic venous ulcers, clogged arteries, colorectal cancer, diabetes, gout, gum disease, headaches, heart attack prevention, heart disease prevention, HIV/AIDS, hyperglycemia (high blood sugar levels), high cholesterol, inflammation, inflammatory bowel disease, joint problems, kidney stones, leukemia, lung cancer, malaria, mouth and throat infections, multiple sclerosis, nerve damage, nerve regeneration, neuroblastoma (nerve tissue tumor), osteoporosis, pain, Parkinson's disease, premature birth prevention, quality of life (osteoarthritis), rheumatoid arthritis, snoring, soft tissue injury, spinal cord injury, spine problems, surgery, systemic lupus erythematosus (disease leading to chronic inflammation), temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), transplants, wound healing.

This evidence-based monograph was prepared by The Natural Standard Research Collaboration

www.naturalstandard.com