natural arthritis remedies

Chondroitin

What is chondroitin?

Chondroitin is an amino sugar, which is produced within cartilage cells. It is one of the basic substances of articular cartilage, the type of cartilage found within joints.

For this reason, there is great interest in chondroitin sulfate as a dietary supplement for patients with osteoarthritis. It stabilises cartilage and helps to counteract the external pressure on the articular cartilage.

SUMMARY

Chondroitin is a substance that occurs naturally in joints. Studies have shown the anti-inflammatory and cartilage-building effect of glucosamine. Like most food supplements, which act on the physiological level, chondroitin takes from two to six months to have a noticeable effect.

It’s effectiveness can be significantly enhanced by combining chondroitin with glucosamine and Omega-3. Side effects are not anticipated with either chondroitin, glucosamine or omega-3 fatty acids. Chondroitin thus belongs to a group of natural treatments for osteoarthritis and arthritis.

Chondroitin is formed by the human body itself. It is therefore well tolerated and free of side effects. The results of several clinical studies have shown a positive effect of chondroitin on the symptoms of arthritis and other rheumatic complaints.

Chondroitin sulfate is available on the market in tablet form. The sulphate compound is preferable over chondroitin hydrochloride, because it provides the body with more valuable sulphur.

Chondroitin benefits in osteoarthritis treatment

A number of studies suggest that chondroitin sulfate appears to have an analgesic, anti-inflammatory and presumed cartilage-building effect in humans.

In clinical studies, the daily dosage is usually between 300 mg and 1,200 mg. The studies often include glucosamine, which has recently become more a popular combination treatment alongside omega-3 fatty acids derived from fish oil.

Chondroitin’s key benefits are that frequently a large number of patients report a decrease of pain and that it reduces the inflammatory swelling of joints.

Chondroitin has been shown to slow joint destruction1 in clinical studies. It works in the cartilage mainly by reducing inflammation, and reducing the formation of pro-inflammatory and cartilage-destroying substances such as nitrogen monoxide2. With a lesser degree of inflammation in the joint fewer cartilage cells die off. This is a primary factor in the long-term preservation of the joint.

Improve the effect of chondroitin sulfate by combining it with other nutrients

Chondroitin sulfate in humans has an intrinsic effect, which has been confirmed in numerous clinical studies3 4 5. However, the combination with other agents appears to enhance the effect even further. For osteoarthritis patients, the combined administration of chondroitin and glucosamine has proven effective6 7.

Researchers studied samples of cartilage taken from cows. They showed that chondroitin and glucosamine decreased the formation of various inflammatory factors and enzymes. Thus, the articular cartilage in the cell culture was less severely damaged8.

Another study evaluated the combination of chondroitin sulfate and healing earth containing sulphate on the development of osteoarthritis. It was found that the healing earth alone had no effect against arthritic joint changes in mice. In contrast, the combination of healing earth and chondroitin sulfate improved visible osteoarthritis symptoms9. The cartilage damage was somewhat mitigated, and inflammation was less frequent. With this experiment, the researchers again showed the anti-inflammatory activity of chondroitin sulfate. When the inflammation is suppressed, there are fewer free radicals and other harmful substances in the joint, protecting the cartilage from gradual, long-term disintegration.

In addition, omega-3 fatty acids combine very well with chondroitin and glucosamine10. Clinical studies have shown promising effects when all three nutrients were combined11 .

The chondroitin effect is long-term

Cartilage recovers significantly slower than other bodily tissues.

Cartilage regenerates about ten times slower than skin or other perfused tissues. This was confirmed by researchers, who measured which proteins in the cells of the cartilage would be affected by the action of chondroitin sulfate12. According to the researchers chondroitin is one of the slow-acting drugs that are already used clinically in treating arthritis and osteoarthritis.

Chondroitin is an effective anti-inflammatory

Arthritis and osteoarthritis are similar in that both are characterised by the chronic inflammatory processes that break down joint cartilage, leading to swelling and severe pain. These processes are caused by the body’s own immune response.

Calamia and colleagues measured the degree of various bodily immune reactions in their trial. They stimulated cultured cartilage cells with an inflammatory factor and treated the cell culture with chondroitin sulfate. The control sample received no chondroitin.

Of the 75 proteins studied, 18 were changed under chondroitin therapy. Chondroitin acts by drawing fluid into cartilage cells which have no blood supply of their own, and acts as an anti-inflammatory. The researchers interpreted their results as showing that chondroitin sulfate may be a suitable therapeutic agent for arthritis and osteoarthritis, due to its versatile and positive effects on cartilage cells.

Chondroitin sulfate is also effective on animals

In a study using animals, chondroitin sulfate resulted in an improvement of the damage in the affected joints13. The research team conducted their research on guinea pigs that were given either glucosamine or chondroitin sulfate or neither of the two substances for a period of 18 months.


Recommendations for treatment with chondroitin

Extensive clinical research shows that chondroitin is a very safe dietary supplement. Dosages range from 300 mg per day to about 1,000 mg. The dose does not need to be distributed throughout the day, but can be taken once a day with water ideally before a meal.

Chondroitin is a natural micronutrient so side-effects or interactions are extremely rare and may well be triggered by other causes. In this case the currently course of treatment should be stopped and the dosage discussed with a doctor.


Buy chondroitin products

A chain is only ever as strong as its weakest link. This applies also to the processes of maintaining cartilage and combatting inflammation.

Combination products are always superior to single-, or two-nutrient products, because the combined benefits of several beneficial micro nutrients provide a multi-faceted, complementary treatment for many factors, which may cause or contribute to the arthritis.

Support your joint with all the nutrients they need. You can find an overview of the best joint and cartilage food supplements here. 

Chondroitin is usually sold in combination with glucosamine. Here are three good products, which include both nutrients.

Bibliography

  1. “Henrotin et al 2010 Chondroitin Sulfate in the Treatment of Osteoarthritis: From in Vitro Studies to Clinical Recommendations, Therapeutical Advances in Musculoskeletal Diseases 2 (6), 335-348”
  2. “Caraglia et al. 2005 Alternative therapy of earth elements increases the chondroprotective effects of chondroitin sulfate in mice. Experimental Molecular Medicine 37 (5), 476 -481 “
  3. “http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18674931”
  4. “http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18416884”
  5. “http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9743819”
  6. “http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17658908”
  7. “http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24395557”] [6. “http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9743819”
  8. “Chan et al. 2007 Effects of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate on bovine cartilage explants under long-term culture conditions. American Journal of Veterinary Research 68:… 709-715 doi: 10.2460 / ajvr.68.7.709”
  9. “Caraglia et al. 2005 Alternative therapy of earth elements increases the chondroprotective effects of chondroitin sulfate in mice. Experimental Molecular Medicine 37 (5), 476-481”
  10. “http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22779342”
  11. “http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19756416”
  12. “Calamia et al. Analysis of chondroitin sulfate 2012 Secretome-treated chondrocytes reveals anti-angiogenic, anti-inflammatory and anti-catabolic properties. Arthritis Res Ther 14 (5), R202)”
  13. “Taniguchi et al. 2011 Long-term oral administration of glucosamine or chondroitin sulfate reduces destruction of cartilage and increases regulation of MMP-3 mRNA in a model of spontaneous osteoarthritis in Hartley guinea pigs. Journal of Orthopaedic Research 30 (5), 673-678 “

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