Chondroitin

1. What is it and where does it come from?

Chondroitin sulphate is one of the major constituents of cartilage. Chondroitin sulphate consists of repeating chains of molecules called mucopolysaccharides. It is a primary part of cartilage. Classified as a type of glycosaminoglycan, chondroitin sulphate is rich in sulphur and is a relative of glucosamine. Animal cartilage is the only significant food source of Chondroitin sulphate.

2. What does it do and what scientific studies give evidence to support this?

Not only does chondroitin provide structure and holds water and nutrients, but it allows other molecules to move through cartilage. This is a very important property, as there is no blood supply to cartilage. As a result, joint support is greatly increased through supplementation. Chondroitin and similar compounds also exist in the bladder and lining of blood vessels. Here they help to prevent abnormal movement of blood, urine, or components across the barrier of the vessel or bladder wall.

Japanese researchers have found that Chondroitin sulphate in synovial fluid collected from the temporomandibular joint provides a useful indicator of the degree of damage there and that chondroitin may play a role in determining the viscosity and elasticity of tissues and fluids. A recent in vitro study done by scientists in Belgium found that chondroitin had potentially beneficial effects on human cartilage cells.

3. Who needs it and what are some symptoms of deficiency?

Because the body makes chondroitin, the possibility of a dietary deficiency is uncertain. A daily requirement has not been set.

4. How much should be taken? Are there any side effects?

Most products potency ranges from 400 to 600 mg. Chondroitin may also be combined with vitamin C. Nausea might occur at intakes greater than 10 grammes per day. No other adverse side-effects have been reported.

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