Chondroitin Sulfate

Chondroitin Sulfate: How important is it?

Chondroitin Sulfate (CS) in fact plays a very big role in products that use Glucosamine. In fact, clinical trials indicate that Chondroitin Sulfate strengthens the power of Glucosamine. So, let’s take a look at this to understand how your joints might benefit.

Both Glucosamine Sulfate and Chondroitin Sulfate are substances that occur naturally in your body and that includes both connective tissues and cartilage. Of course, cartilage is what protects your joint bones from coming into contact with one another. Glucosamine Sulfate is the principal ingredient for building proteoglycans. Proteoglycans are large molecules that give cartilage its buffering or elastic qualities. 

When you ingest Glucosamine Sulfate, it tracks right down to your cartilage very quickly. It also has demonstrated anti-inflammatory qualities which as you know, is what causes pain. It has also clinically demonstrated that it acts as a protective agent for cartilage as well.

What the clinical studies seem to say

According to those engaged in these studies, Glucosamine Sulfate may be slowing down the breakdown of your cartilage which is what happens when you have Osteoarthritis. Also, Glucosamine sulfate may also be responsible for the growth of new cartilage.

What doctors usually do with OA

For the most part, doctors’ who are not fans of Glucosamine supplements offer that you should take pain medications for your Osteoarthritis. Frankly speaking, this has not been the best solution for most OA sufferers. First of all, these drugs may have limits in terms of reducing pain. Second, many individuals experience side effects when taking them. And finally, there is no benefit other than pain relief using these drugs.

The Role of Chondroitin Sulfate

Clinical studies have consistently demonstrated that Glucosamine when taken alone is not as effective as it is when taken with Chondroitin sulfate. The clinical studies conducted to date give Chondroitin sulfate very high marks. (The studies use technical identifiers) So, let’s break this down in layman’s terms. And, let’s focus on the cartilage.

According to the studies, Glucosamine sulfate stimulates the growth of new cartilage. That assumes that the OA patient has not lost all of the protective cartilage at that particular joint structure. As well, Glucosamine sulfate demonstrates that it is both anti-inflammatory (which offers pain relief and swelling) and, it acts as an antioxidant. 

These factors would lead to slowing the destruction of protective cartilage (degeneration) and it leads to greater mobility in the affected joint.

So, how about Chondroitin sulfate? How is that helping you OA?

Chondroitin sulfate (CS) in your body is one of the natural Glycosaminoglycans (GAG) and it is one of the most components of the cartilage matrix. What it does as a practical matter is assist the cartilage in retaining water. Obviously, this is critical to maintaining a healthy cartilage.

In a recent European study CS was given the very highest of recommendations. Clinicians found that CS began working quickly in the cartilage matrix and even months later, was showing its effectiveness. Also, much like Glucosamine, CS operated to reduce pain in OA patients as well as inflammation.

The final findings in that study were that CS may slow the progression of OA in patients.

Other clinical trials

There is a long list of other clinical trials that found these conclusions to be correct. You could sum up all of these trials with this statement.

“Chondroitin sulfate influences the course of OA with symptoms such as pain and inflammation; as well, it acts as a structure-modifying drug in OA. Chondroitin sulfate may retard OA progression and could modify the course of OA.” One additional finding was that Glucosamine/Chondroitin may also lead to a reduction in joint replacements. 

These are very powerful statements and they are coming from leading medical authorities who engage in these studies on an ongoing basis. Certainly, it deserves the attention of those who are considering the use of a Glucosamine/Chondroitin product.

The role of Chondroitin sulfate seems clear

Multiple studies have now concluded that Chondroitin sulfate in long-term studies showed a marked reduction in OA symptoms. These studies also confirmed that there was a marked difference in the use of Chondroitin sulfate as opposed to a placebo. (A clinical name for a product with “nothing in it.”)

Look at this difference

A very detailed review was conducted by the Natural Standard Monograph team. This group of authors reviews 39 clinical studies in which Chondroitin sulfate was used on OA patients. Nearly all of these studies concluded that CS had a positive impact on OA patients.

Here we go again

But, one study that did not make these findings was the GAIT study. In that study, only slightly more than 5% had a positive outcome.

Of course, as we have pointed out in the past, the GAIT study included representatives from the Pharmaceutical industry. And, that in and of itself speaks volumes about how this study had mixed results.

Take it for what it is worth. If 39 clinical studies showed very positive outcomes and only GAIT did not, it tells us what we want to know.