Chondroitin Sulfate

Nonessential Micronutrient

OVERVIEW


Summary

In an ideal world, our cartilage would last a lifetime, but everyday wear and tear, improper nutrition, sporting injuries, and aging all take their toll on our joints. By “lubricating” our joints, chondroitin sulfate helps keep the cartilage healthy and flexible enough to serve as a shock absorber for stressful or high-impact activities.


Where to find Chondroitin Sulfate

Chondroitin sulfate is a component of animal cartilage.

PERFORMANCE BENEFITS

Why athletes use Chondroitin Sulfate

Chondroitin sulfate is used primarily by athletes, active individuals, and people with osteoarthritis to both protect and heal damaged cartilage and improve joint health.

Ways that Chondroitin Sulfate can enhance Muscle Gain & Recovery:
  • Support and even repair connective tissue by allowing nutrients and water to pass through cartilage
  • Improve the strength and flexibility of connective tissue (which is essential for healthy joints) by improving structure

HEALTH BENEFITS

Signs of Chondroitin Sulfate deficiency

No deficiency conditions are known to exist.

Potential uses for Chondroitin Sulfate

Research indicates that Chondroitin Sulfate may be useful in the treatment of:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Bone and joint problems
  • Broken bones

DISCUSSION

More about Chondroitin Sulfate

Chondroitin sulfate has quickly become one of the most popular supplements for strengthening and repairing damaged cartilage — a gel-like tissue composed of about two-thirds water and some nutrients. By “lubricating” the cartilage, so to speak, chondroitin sulfate helps keep it healthy and pliable enough to serve as a shock absorber for joints.

In an ideal world, cartilage would last a lifetime, but everyday wear and tear, poor nutrition, various injuries (at times from sporting activities), and aging all take their toll and deteriorate our connective tissues. This leads to sore joints, commonly aching elbows and knees.

What it is and how it works

Chondroitin sulfate, scientifically classified as a “glycosaminoglycan,” is a major component of cartilage and bone. It keeps cartilage healthy by attracting and holding water and nutrients within its matrix. And, it allows other molecules to move freely through the cartilage, which is critical because cartilage has no blood supply.

Fortunately, even after cartilage is damaged, studies have shown that chondroitin sulfate may help it heal more quickly and regenerate itself by attracting nutrients and water to the area — allowing the connective tissues to become stronger and more flexible. This makes chondroitin particularly well-suited for athletes and active individuals who sometimes suffer from damaged joints (cartilage) as a result of repetitive motion and stress-impacting injuries. Studies indicate chondroitin may even promote bone healing if the bone should become damaged or broken.

Joint-healing effects

In the case of osteoarthritis, the cartilage between joints has broken down so severely that bone rubs against bone, sometimes making it painful or even impossible to move. Studies confirm that chondroitin sulfate halts the premature breakdown of cartilage and restores function and mobility to damaged joints, enabling movement to become almost “pain free.”

In one three-month study, subjects who took chondroitin experienced a significant reduction in the symptoms of osteoarthritis compared with the placebo group. And in a year-long study, subjects who supplemented with chondroitin for osteoarthritis of the knee fared significantly better than the placebo group. The chondroitin group demonstrated a greater degree of mobility, less joint swelling, and increased stability. What’s more, in 6 of the 25 chondroitin subjects, the cartilage had become denser, stronger, and healthier.

In conclusion

The impressive results of studies conducted on chondroitin have led researchers to conclude that chondroitin sulfate does more than ease joint pain and inflammation. It may actually help maintain and rebuild healthy cartilage and even heal damaged bones.

NOTES ON USAGE

Amount

For optimal connective-tissue (joint) “recovery” and “support,” most research indicates usage ranging from 250 to 500 mg 3 times per day.

Timing

Chondroitin should be taken evenly throughout the day (for instance, morning, mid-afternoon, and late evening), and for best absorption, it is recommended with meals.

Synergists of Chondroitin Sulfate

Studies show chondroitin works synergistically with glucosamine (500 mg, 3 times per day) to help strengthen and repair connective tissues.

Manufacturers are now adding 500 mg of MSM to their chrondroitin-containing joint formulas.

Chondroitin commonly works with Vitamin C (500 to 2,000 mg per day) to help the body produce and stabilize collagen in connective tissue.

Safety of Chondroitin Sulfate

Chondroitin sulfate may cause nausea when over ten grams are consumed per day.

Toxicity of Chondroitin Sulfate

No known toxicity.

Bans and restrictions

None reported.

RELATED RESEARCH

  • Andermann, G., and Dietz, M., “The Influence of the Route of Administration on the Bioavailability of an Endogenous Macromolecule: Chondroitin Sulphate (CSA),” Eur J Drug Metab Pharmacokinet 7.1 (1982) : 11-6.
  • Morreale, P., et al., “Comparison of the Antiinflammatory Efficacy of Chondroitin Sulfate and Diclofenac Sodium in Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis,” J Rheumatol 23.8 (1996) : 1385-91.
  • Shankland, W.E., 2nd, “The Effects of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate on Osteoarthritis of the TMJ: A Preliminary Report of 50 Patients,” Cranio 16.4 (1998) : 230-5.