Chondroitin’s good for sore joints
Back in 2011 there was some interesting emerging research that suggested the traditional osteoarthritis supplements were perhaps targeting the wrong ingredient. Most supplements were heavily weighted towards glucosamine sulphate with a smaller amount of chondroitin sulphate (CS).
As a result of this research I completely reformulated my joint supplement. I did two things. Firstly, I increased CS to 380mg per capsule and secondly added a 95 per cent curcumin (turmeric) extract. This gave maintenance dose of 760mg of CS. Almost immediately clients reported better results on the new formulation. These results were increased where we added 1-2 months on a double dose (4 capsules daily) which delivered over 1500mg of CS.
Over the last few years there has been still more quality research into the benefits of CS, especially with knee osteoarthritis. Just last year a study looked at still even higher levels of CS — at 1200mg daily — and compared this with a leading COX-2 selective anti-inflammatory arthritis medication.
The study was over two years and used MRI to establish the benefits. This was a high quality double-blind placebo controlled trial involving 200 people over 24 months. It concluded that while both groups had similar improvements in comfort, MRI analysis showed the CS group had much greater reduction in cartilage loss. This finding was consistent with five other studies looking at the benefits of CS for knee OA. While most of the studies have been with knee OA, I have found that most joints affected by OA can be helped.
While such studies are useful really it is all about what happens to an individual with osteoarthritis. This is why I prefer to create a personalised programme which takes many factors like age, weight, medications, diet and exercise into consideration. Earlier we looked at research that indicated higher levels of chondroitin sulphate (CS) can be helpful for joints affected by osteoarthritis.
The great thing about CS is that it is completely natural and work very differently to arthritis medication.
Of course there is a place for prescribed medications for arthritis to control pain and inflammation but long term use can be harmful.
I have spoken to many people who at the advice of their doctor had to stop anti-inflammatory medication.
It is important to understand a little how joint supplements work.
The benefits come from a restoration of natural joint health processes rather than a temporary blocking of inflammatory processes — which is how arthritis drugs work. The study Chondroitin sulphate in the
treatment of osteoarthritis (Y. Herotin PhD, 2010) identified more than 30 positive changes directly related to increasing chondroitin sulphate through high dose supplementation. All these changes are effectively a restoration of the natural processes damaged by osteoarthritis.
The main processes affected by osteoarthritis involve the breakdown of cartilage matrix or destruction of the chondrocyte cells responsible or secreting and maintaining cartilage. The study above cross-referenced to over 20 other studies that identified these changes.
The first set of positive changes from high dose CS supplementation involve restoration of processes that prevent the unwanted breakdown of cartilage — which is of course the central process in OA. The main processes involve a reduction in the deterioration of the ends of bones, a reduction in cartilage loss and an improvement in joint lubrication.
What was surprising to me is that CS had a direct antioxidant effect by inhibiting enzymes that attack both cartilage and chondrocytes. While these studies are quite technical the conclusion is that CS can restore the natural joint processes damaged by arthritis. Feel free to contact me for advice for your circumstances. Feel free to contact me for advice.
■ John Arts (B Soc Sci, Dip Tch, Adv Dip Nut Med) is a nutritional medicine practitioner and founder of Abundant Health Ltd. For questions or advice contact John on 0800 423559 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Join his full weekly newsletter at www.abundant.co.nz