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Chondroitin Sulfate

Chondroitin is naturally found in our cartilage, tendons, and ligaments where it binds to proteins like collagen and elastin. It is partially responsible for the strength, flexibility, and shock absorption in our joints. It provides both structure and lubrication (through water retention) within our joints. It is for these reasons that chondroitin has become a popular dietary supplement used in the treatment of osteoarthritis. Some studies indicate that chondroitin is as effective as aspirin and other NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) at relieving arthritic pain; additionally, it has the added advantage of being side-effect free unlike its chemically based counterparts. Chondroitin is well-absorbed by the body and has demonstrated positive results in osteoarthritis sufferers. Many researchers agree that chondroitin taken in combination with glucosamine sulfate or glucosamine hydrochloride is more beneficial and studies seem to back up this assertion.
 
Browse Sections:
 Summary
 Other Names
 Description
 Traditional Internal Uses
 Traditional Topical Uses
 Indications
 Actions
 Constituents / Nutrients
 Pharmacological Summary
 Scientific Research / Actions
 Research
 Interaction with Medications
 Possible Side Effects
 Dosage
 References

Common Name
Chondroitin Sulfate
 
Other Names
CDS, CSC, and CSA.

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Description
Technically speaking, chondroitin is a mucopolysaccharide that consists of repeating chains of molecules called glycosaminoglycans. Chondroitin is a naturally ocurring component of cartilage. Made synthetically or derived from animals (cow tracheas or shark cartilage), supplemental chondroitin slows down the deterioration of human cartilage and encourages the formation of new cartilage. Chondroitin appears to exhibit an enzyme-blocking effect protecting cartilage tissue. It may also offer a lubricating effect by drawing water into the joints and, thereby, restoring the natural cushioning effect of the joints and decreasing pain. Chondrotin is often combined with glucosamine, another key component in cartilage repair, as well as MSM (Methyl Sulfonyl Methane) in many joint support formulas.

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Traditional Internal Uses
*Note: Chondroitin is often used in combination with glucosamine or MSM (Methylsuphonylmethane). Many positive clinical results have focused on the combination of glucosamine and chondroitin, in particular.

Studies suggest that chondroitin may increase joint mobility and delay cartilage loss. Both knee and hip osteoarthritis respond to supplemental chondroitin and glucosamine on their own and moderately better when the two are taken in combination. Studies focusing on other areas of the body have yielded less consistent or inconclusive results. In particular, osteoarthritis of the spine was examined and the authors neither supported or rejected the use of supplemental glucosamine sulfate and/or chondroitin sulfate. However, they did concede that it would be a reasonable and safe course of action.

In general, findings from studies focusing on the use of chondroitin in the treatment ofm osteoarthritis (OA) suggest that it:
  • Significantly reduces OA pain
  • Improves functional status of people with hip or knee OA
  • Reduces joint swelling and stiffness
  • Provides relief from OA symptoms for up to 3 months after treatment is discontinued
While studies in other areas are still in their infancy, conditions for which chondroitin has been suggested include preterm labor, Alzheimer's disease, heart disease, and osteoporosis.

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Traditional Topical Uses
In a recent Australian study, a topical cream containg glucosamine and chondroitin relieved patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. The topical preparation applied to the knee outperformed the placebo in a randomized trial of 32 patients over the course of eight weeks.

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Indications
Primary Indications: Arthritis Support, Bursitis, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Primary Indications: Joint Problems

Primary Indications: Osteoarthritis Support

Primary Indications: Swelling / Inflammation

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Actions
Anti-Arthritic, Anti-Inflammatory, Antirheumatic

Regenerative, Restorative

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Constituents / Nutrients
Chondroitin sulfate consists of repeating chains of molecules called glycosaminoglycans.

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Pharmacological Summary
Results suggest that supplemental chondroitin has exhibited "structure modifying properties" with respect to osteoarthritis of the knee. Efficacy of oral chondroitin sulfate has also demonstrated some positive benefits in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the hands. "Chondroprotective" and anti-inflammatory properties have been revealed within in vitro studies and chondroitin has also been shown to promote "a slow but gradual decrease of the clinical symptoms of osteoarthritis" in other studies.

Studies of both chondroitin and glucosamine when evaluated collectively lead one to the conclusiobn that it seems reasonable to take both nutrients together in an osteoarthritis treatment plan. Some research suggests that while benefits of each supplement taken individually may offer positive health benefits, the combined action of both together yields a marginally superior outcome.

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Scientific Research and Pharmacologicial Actions
The pathobiology of osteoarthritis and the rationale for using the chondroitin sulfate for its treatment.
Curr Drug Targets Immune Endocr Metabol Disord. 2004 Jun;4(2):119-27.

Structure-modifying osteoarthritis drugs are agents that reverse, retard, or stabilize the pathology of osteoarthritis, thereby providing symptomatic relief in the long-term treatment. The objective of this review is to evaluate the literature on chondroitin sulfate with respect to the pathobiology of osteoarthritis to ascertain whether this agent should be classified as a symptomatic slow-acting drug, a compound that has a slow onset of action and improve OA symptoms after a couple of weeks. Chondroitin sulfate exhibits a wide range of biological activities and from a pharmacological point of view it produces a slow but gradual decrease of the clinical symptoms of osteoarthritis and these benefits last for a long period after the end of treatment. Many literature data show that chondroitin sulfate could have an anti-inflammatory activity and a chondroprotective action by modifying the structure of cartilage. These properties are also related to the oral adsorption of chondroitin sulfate as high-molecular mass compounds having clusters of sulfate groups and high charge density capable of exert their chondroprotective activity in vivo.

A two-year study of chondroitin sulfate in erosive osteoarthritis of the hands: behavior of erosions, osteophytes, pain and hand dysfunction.
Drugs Exp Clin Res. 2004;30(1):11-6.

The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of 800 mg/die of chondroitin sulfate per os plus naproxen versus naproxen over 2 years in patients with erosive osteoarthritis of the hands. Joint count for erosions, Heberden and Bouchard nodes, Dreiser's algofunctional index and physicians' and patients' global assessment of disease activity were studied. A total of 24 consecutive patients (22 women and 2 men, mean age 53.0 +/- 6) suffering from symptomatic OA with radiographic characteristics of osteoarthritis were evaluated. The patients were divided into two groups of 12 patients each. The first group took naproxen 500 mg only. The second group was treated with chondroitin sulfate 800 mg orally plus naproxen 500 mg. Joint counts, radiological hand examinations and assessment of disease activity were performed at baseline, at 12 months and at 24 months. In the second year the treated group showed significant worsening in erosion, Heberden, Bouchard and Dreiser scores was recorded. Physician and patient global assessments of disease activity showed no significant difference from baseline scores. The untreated group showed significant worsening in erosion, Heberden and Bouchard nodes, Dreiser index and physician and patient global assessment scores. This study confirms the partial efficacy of oral chondroitin sulfate in improving some aspects of osteoarthritis.

Intermittent treatment of knee osteoarthritis with oral chondroitin sulfate: a one-year, randomized, double-blind, multicenter study versus placebo.
Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2004 Apr;12(4):269-76.

Objective: To investigate the efficacy and tolerability of a 3-month duration, twice a-year, intermittent treatment with oral chondroitin sulfate in knee osteoarthritis (OA) patients.

Design: A total of 120 patients with symptomatic knee OA were randomized into two groups receiving either 800mg chondroitin sulfate or placebo per day for two periods of 3 months during 1 year. Primary efficacy outcome was Lequesne's algo-functional index (AFI); secondary outcome parameters included VAS, walking time, global judgment, and paracetamol consumption. Radiological progression was assessed by automatic measurement of medial femoro-tibial joint space width on weight-bearing X-rays of both knees. Clinical and biological tolerability was assessed.

Results: AFI decreased significantly by 36% in the chondroitin sulfate group after 1 year as compared to 23% in the placebo group. Similar results were found for the secondary outcomes parameters. Radiological progression at month 12 showed significantly decreased joint space width in the placebo group with no change in the chondroitin sulfate group. Tolerability was good with only minor adverse events identically observed in both groups.

Conclusion: This study provides evidences that oral chondroitin sulfate decreased pain and improved knee function. The 3-month intermittent administration of 800mg/day of oral chondroitin sulfate twice a year does support the prolonged effect known with symptom-modifying agents for OA. The inhibitory effect of chondroitin sulfate on the radiological progression of the medial femoro-tibial joint space narrowing could suggest further evidence of its structure-modifying properties in knee OA.

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Research
"Dispelling Myths About Chondroitin"


"Taking Glucosamine Without Chondroitin? You Fool You!"
"Topical Glucosamine / Chondroitin Cream Relieves Knee Pain"

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Precautions / Contraindications
None documented.

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Interaction with Medications
If you are currently taking any blood thinners such as warfarin heparin, only take chondroitin under a doctor's supervision. Some researchers have suggested that bleeding complications may result as a result of similar chemical compositions. Avoid chondroitin if you are taking the following medications:
  • Antiplatelets including Plavix and Ticlid
  • Anticoagulants including heparin and warfarin.
Taking chondroitin may decrease the need for NSAIDs such as ibuprofen to relieve the pain and swelling associated with osteoarthritis. Because stomach bleeding and ulcers may result from taking NSAIDs, supplemental chondroitin may be a safer and equally effective alternative. Consult with your health care practitioner.

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Possible Side Effects
Unlike current medical treatments for arthritis, such as ibuprofen and other NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), chondroitin causes virtually no side effects.

Within the context of recent studies, very mild and rare side effects include diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain. There have also been rare reports of swelling and accumulation of fluid in the eyelids and lower limbs, irregular heartbeats, and alopecia (hair loss) after taking the supplement. Generally speaking, both chondroitin and glucosamine products are widely considered safe and side-effect free. This is an obvious advantage over common NSAID drugs used to treat arthritis pain.

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Dosage
The effectiveness of chondroitin can be boosted with the addition of a glucosamine product. Often, blends of the two are avialable in various strengths.

For treating OA, typical oral doses of chondroitin range from 400 mg to 1,200 mg taken two or three times daily. Too often, people will take one 400 mg or 500 mg capsule for just a few days and complain that they're not experiencing any change in their health conditions or pain levels. In clinical studies, some participants needed treatment lasting up to 4 months before results were seen.

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References
Our thanks to the following information resources: Drugdigest.org, University of Maryland Medical Center (unm.edu), WholehealthMD, Raysahelian.com, and Drtheo.com.

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Chondroitin Sulfate - Herbal Plant Supplements

Click on any of the products below for detailed product information!
 

Chondroitin Sulfate Powder

Chondroitin Sulfate Powder

Chondroitin Sulfate Powder

Chondroitin Sulfate Powder

Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate Powder

Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate Powder

Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate Powder

Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate Powder

Joint Support Powder - Glucosamine, Chondroitin and MSM

Joint Support Powder - Glucosamine, Chondroitin and MSM

Joint Support Powder - Glucosamine, Chondroitin and MSM

Joint Support Powder - Glucosamine, Chondroitin and MSM

Chondroitin Sulfate Cream

Chondroitin Sulfate Cream

Chondroitin Sulfate - Salve Ointment

Chondroitin Sulfate - Salve Ointment

Joint Support Cream - MSM, Glucosamine and Chondroitin

Joint Support Cream - MSM, Glucosamine and Chondroitin

Joint Support - Salve Ointment - MSM, Glucosamine and Chondroitin

Joint Support - Salve Ointment - MSM, Glucosamine and Chondroitin
  


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