Many studies have demonstrated how effective glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate (GS and CS) can be for arthritis (read more on treating arthritis). A new paper shows that long-term use of GS and CS may actually repair degenerated discs in the spine.
Spinal discs lie between your vertebrae--they provide your spine with shock absorption and freedom of movement. Discs degenerate primarily due to either trauma or faulty movement patterns (see your Chiropractor!)
This recent paper followed a 56 year-old man who had a disc hernia (this is where the "gooey" stuff inside the disc tears through the tough, fibrous outside of the disc). The man supplemented with 2,000mg of glucosamine sulfate and 1600mg of chondroitin sulfate for 2 years. Amazingly, the disc repaired itself significantly over the 2-year period--it actually gained back much of its height! This is unusual--typically once a disc begins to degenerate the process continues.
If you have disc problems I highly suggest 3 things:
- See a chiropractor regularly--chiropractic manipulation can help with your pain, and more importantly, normalize movement in the joints around the disc. The disc has very little blood supply and gets its nutrition through movement--as they are compressed old fluids are squeezed out, and as they expand new, nutrition laden fluids are drawn in. This is necessary for a healthy disc!
- Begin a stabilization program for your low back. Instructions and videos of how to do this are available free here.
- Supplement with Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate! I recommend using the same amounts outlined in the study above.