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Chondroitin sulfate quick review
Description: a component of cartilage, belongs to glucosaminoglycans (GAGs) which are unbranched polysaccharides consisting of alternating hexosamine and hexuronic residues.
Health benefits: helps to keep cartilage resilient by absorbing fluid into the connective tissue, protects the joints by providing shock-absorption, and helps the body retain skin moisture.

Sources & dosage: shark and bovine cartilage. The doses ranging from 250 and 1,600 milligrams a day.
Glucosamine Chondroitin with MSM
Sulfur-containing methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is included in this glucosamine and chondroitin combination to provide an enhanced spectrum of nutrients for optimal cartilage matrix composition, connective tissue strength, and joint comfort. Glucosamine promotes the synthesis of the glycosaminoglycan chondroitin sulfate. Chondroitin sulfate is responsible for building the ground substance of cartilage, molecules known as proteoglycans. In addition, chondroitin sulfate may maintain healthy enzyme activity. An important role of sulfur from MSM is to enhance the structure and integrity of proteoglycans. Click here for more information.

Chondroitin sulfate

Chondroitin sulfate is a component of cartilage. In molecular terms, it is a gigantic molecule, mainly composed of repeated chains of glucosamine sulfate. Chondroitin sulfate belongs to a class of very large molecules called glucosaminoglycans (GAGs), which are made up of glucuronic acid and galactosamine. Chondroitin sulfate is a generic name for a class of compounds known as a kind of typical glycosaminoglycans widely distributing in nature as a constituent of cartilage tissues and connective tissues of a great variety of animals. These compounds each have a polymeric structure consisting mainly of 40 to 100 times repetition of the disaccharide units.

Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) are unbranched polysaccharides consisting of alternating hexosamine and hexuronic residues which carry sulfate groups in different positions. The known GAGS are chondroitin sulfate, keratan sulfate, dermatan sulfate, hyaluronic acid, heparin and heparan sulfate. The chondroitin sulfate family includes seven sub-types designated unsulfated chondroitin sulfate, oversulfated chondroitin sulfate and chondroitin sulfates A-E which vary in the number and position of their sulfate functional groups. Chondroitin sulfate A is also known as chondroitin 6-sulphate, chondroitin sulfate B is also known as dermatan sulphate, and chondroitin sulfate C is also known as chondroitin 4-sulphate.


Chondroitin sulfate health benefits

Chondroitin is best known to the general public as a remedy for osteoarthritis, which is a form of arthritis caused by wearing away or degeneration of the cartilage that cushions the ends of bones. Chondroitin helps to keep cartilage resilient by absorbing fluid
(particularly water) into the connective tissue. It is also believed to block enzymes that break down cartilage and it provides the building blocks needed for cartilage to repair itself. Chondroitin sulfate not only provides additional organic sulfur to the formula for incorporation into cartilage but it also has a synergistic effect with glucosamine since its structure provides galactosamine which is a different pathway than that used by glucosamine.

Chondroitin sulfate is a glycosaminoglycans that provides a further substrate for the synthesis of the proteoglycans. The building blocks for collagen are amino acids, especially proline, glycine and lysine. Proteoglycans are large and complex macromolecules comprised mainly of long chains of modified sugars called glycosaminoglycans or mucopolysaccharides. Generally, chondroitin sulfate is a biological polymer derived from connective tissue. Chondroitin stimulates proteoglycan production and collagen and hyaluronic synthesis. It thus appears to act as a 'building block' for the synthesis of cartilage, thereby slowing the progressive degradation which occurs in osteoarthritis. Hyaluronic acid acts as a lubricant between connective tissues of the skin, protects the joints by providing shock-absorption, and helps the body retain skin moisture.

Specifically, chondroitin sulfate A has proven to be an effective anti-inflammatory that improves blood circulation, prevents ischemic heart disease, reduces incidences of heart attacks, reduces incidences of strokes, and is also effective in supporting connective joint tissue. Insofar as Chondroitin sulfate helps prevent heart disease, this phenomenon is due to the inherent antithrombogenic or anticoagulant properties which prevent abnormal blood clots and reduce the incidence of strokes. Chondroitin sulfate B is found in the dermis of the skin and is also one of the constituents responsible for maintaining viscoelasticity of the skin. Chondroitin sulfate C inhibits elastase, an effect which may provide some analgesia and contribute to the slowing of cartilage degradation.


Dietary sources of chondroitin sulfate

Chondroitin is manufactured from natural sources, such as shark and bovine cartilage. Pure chondroitin is a relatively large molecule, weighing about 16,900 daltons. The species or tissue of origin, and the extraction method used, can affect the size of the molecule. Chondroitin-4 sulfate is found in nasal and tracheal cartilages of bovines and porcines. It is also found in the bones, flesh, blood, skin, umbilical cord, and urine of these animals. Chondroitin-6 sulfate has been isolated from the skin, umbilical cord, and cardiac valves of these animals. Chondroitin-6 sulfate has the same composition, but slightly different physical properties from chondroitin-4 sulfate.


Dosage and administration

Chondroitin sulfate can be taken orally as a pill, powder, or liquid. It can also be administered by injection. It is also available in combination with various forms of glucosamine and sometimes manganese as well. There are no standard dosage guidelines. The doses ranging from 250 and 1,600 milligrams a day, usually 400 mg twice a day or 800 mg once a day taken orally. When chondroitin is used together with glucosamine as a treatment for osteoarthritis, the daily dosage is based on the patient's weight. Chondroitin can be taken without regard to meals.