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Who Should Not Take These Arthritis Supplements?

People with diabetes should use caution when taking glucosamine because it may raise blood sugar. People taking blood-thinning medication (anticoagulants) should check with their doctors before taking glucosamine and chondroitin.

These arthritis supplements may also have a blood-thinning effect so people taking these supplements in addition to an anticoagulant may have to have their blood tested more often. People who are allergic to shellfish also should consult their doctors before using glucosamine and chondroitin. Glucosamine is extracted from a substance in shellfish.

The effects of these supplements on a growing child or developing baby are not yet known. For that reason, glucosamine and chondroitin are not recommended for children, women who are pregnant, women who are nursing, and women who could become pregnant.

What Are the Side Effects of Glucosamine and Chondroitin?

These arthritis supplements are generally well-tolerated. However, side effects can occur. The most commonly reported side effects of glucosamine and chondroitin include:

What Is MSM and Can It Help My Arthritis?

MSM, or methylsulfonylmethane, is a supplement that is used to try to help a wide range of conditions, including arthritis, allergies, and even snoring.

MSM is an odorless and tasteless natural sulfur compound found in all living things. Sulfur is needed by the body for healthy connective tissue and joint function and has purported pain-quashing and anti-inflammatory properties.

While MSM is found in many foods -- including meat, fish, certain fruit, vegetables, and grains -- it is destroyed when foods are processed. MSM supplements have become increasingly popular in recent years and many people feel they have had some pain relief since taking MSM. Although some studies have reported improvement in pain with MSM, more research needs to be done to support its use as an arthritis supplement.

Those patients with multiple health conditions should be aware that current prescription medication may interact with dietary supplements, and you should consult your doctor so that side effects can be best monitored. Moreover, as with many supplements that have not been studied, the long-term benefits and safety of the chemical are unknown.

Talk to your doctor before taking MSM.