September 4, 2004
Q: I suffer from osteoarthritis and am taking chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine orally to help with my symptoms. Are there any safety concerns? - Technical
A: Chondroitin sulfates (CS) are glycoaminoglycan structural components of cartilage and stimulate proteoglycan synthesis, therefore, increasing cartilage repair. CS also inhibit cartilage break down by interleukin-1 released by the cells in osteoarthritic destruction. Glucosamine (GAS) is well absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract and is selectively taken in and incorporated into glycosaminoglycans, a main structural component of cartilage and other joint tissues. GAS also inhibits the inflammatory process by neutralization of the cytokines such as interleukin-1B and other antagonists such as prostaglandin E2 and nitrite formation. There are some low level safety concerns of gastric, hypertensive, and urinary upsets. Care should be taken in using these supplements.
Q: I am a diabetic and wish to use gymnema. Are there any precautions with taking this supplement? - Technical
A: Gymnema (Gymnema sylvestre, family Ascclepiadaceae) , is a vine native to India and Asia used for centuries to treat diabetes in those countries. The activity of this plant is due to its chemical makeup. The saponins it contains, produces anti sweet activity. The alcoholic extract of the leaves have been found to lower blood sugar levels by stimulating the B cells of the islets of Langerhans, the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas to produce more insulin and/ or by increasing these cell populations. There may be drastic fluctuations in blood sugar levels when using this supplement along with medical treatment so caution must be used. This factor is very low in nondiabetics.
DISCLAIMER: The information in this column, is NOT intended to diagnose and/or treat any health related issues and is provided solely for informational purposes only. Consult the appropriate healthcare professional before making any changes to your healthcare regime. Even what may seem like simple changes in the diet for example, can interact with, and alter, the efficiency of medications and/or the body's response to the medications. Many herbs and supplements exert powerful medicinal effects. Neither the author, nor the website designers, assume any responsibility for the reader's use or misuse of this information.