There are many possible side effects to consider before adding glucosamine chondroitin to your daily supplements. Most are mild and manageable, such as stomach upset, heartburn and constipation, but a few are life threatening.
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Intestinal Side Effects
The most common side effects of taking glucosamine chondroitin are gastrointestinal in nature such as abdominal pain, flatulence, diarrhoea, indigestion, heartburn, loss of appetite, constipation, nausea and vomiting. These gastrointestinal side effects are reversible and can often be decreased or eliminated by taking glucosamine chondroitin with a meal.
Vision Side Effects
Be aware of any changes in your vision or in eye pressure when taking glucosamine chondroitin, as you may have an increased risk of eye cataracts. Contact your physician, ophthalmologist or optometrist if you experience any changes in vision.
Heart Side Effects
Glucosamine chondroitin is high in sodium. If you are on a low sodium diet, have heart disease or take medication that requires low levels of sodium, exercise caution when taking glucosamine chondroitin. Glucosamine has been known to temporarily increase blood pressure, heart rate and cause heart palpitations.
Blood Side Effects
Diabetics and hypoglycaemic need to be aware glucosamine chondroitin lowers blood glucose levels in animals and can possibly have the same effect on humans. If you have any bleeding disorder, such as haemophilia, or are taking blood thinners, you need to be aware that glucosamine chondroitin may thin blood. Always consult a physician before taking any new supplements or medications if you have a medical condition or are on prescription medication.
Allergic reactions to shellfish come from the protein elements; however, glucosamine chondroitin is derived from the carbohydrate elements. There are reports of allergic reactions to glucosamine, but the true danger of allergic reaction related to seafood allergies isn't well known. If you are allergic to shellfish, consult a physician prior to adding glucosamine chondroitin to your diet and use it with caution.
While glucosamine chondroitin is generally safe to take with other medications, a report from Fox News (2005) says that one out of ten people report taking supplements that interact with their traditional medication for arthritis. Always consult with your physician or pharmacists before taking a new medication.
Other Side Effects
A few other general side effects of glucosamine chondroitin are drowsiness or motor uneasiness, headache and breathing difficulties. If you are experiencing these side effects, stop taking the supplement and contact your physician.
There are a few rare, but severe, possible side effects such as kidney failure, liver inflammation, hepatitis and severe allergic reactions. If you have any conditions that weaken the kidneys or liver, or are taking medicine that may strain these organs, consult a physician before adding glucosamine chondroitin to your diet.
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