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Chondroitin

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Chondroitin Sulfate

History

The first successful extraction of chondroitin was in the 1960's. It is most popularly manufactured from shark or beef cartilage or from a cow’s trachea. It can also be manufactured by synthetic processes. Expert opinions agree that the use of chondroitin in partnership with Glucosamine improves and may possibly reverse the osteoarthritic process.

Use in Medicine

This dietary supplement is used as an alternative medicine. Its purpose is to treat osteoarthritis and potentially slow down the disease. It is most frequently found combined with glucosamine. This combination is used in both human and veterinary medicine.

Dosage

The clinical trials at 800-1200mb/day proved successful. Most of the condroitin that is produced originates from cow trachea, pig noses and ears. Other sources are fish, shark and bird cartilage. It has been found that compounds vary due to the large variety of resources that are available. Chondroitin is manufactured to correspond to food standards, and not pharmaceutical. Therefore, some brands may be more reliable and effective than other brands are.

There have not been any significant cases of overdosing with chondroitin. It has also been noted that chondroitin does not have any significant interactions with other types of drugs and medications. This is another safety feature of this widely used nutrient.

There are currently more than 22 countries throughout the world that have chondroitin available as a prescription or over the counter. In the United States it is sold primarily as a dietary supplement for both people and their pets. There are no standards for production and thus no promise of correct labeling. In Europe it is sold as a drug and its safety and efficacy are tested on patients with osteoarthritis. Recently there have been some testing standards implemented in the United States.

Mechanism

It is believed that the action of chondroitin is most likely anti-inflammatory.

Trials

The many studies and trials of condroitin have been questionable. In some controlled studies it was believed that it may decrease pain, reduce NSAID use and actually improve range of motion.

With its popularity increasing and the information scanty, the National Institute of Health (NIH) did a study on osteoarthritis of the knee and the effect of chondroitin. This was a lengthy, six month, test of chondroitin with glucosamine. It was a double-blind study and placebo controlled. The tests indicated no significant improvement of the symptoms of osteoarthritis. In the moderate-to-severe group, the results were significantly more positive than the overall group.

Although study after study has been conducted, it is fairly safe to say that it seems to help in some circumstances with the effects of osteoarthritis.

Overdose

To date there have been no significant reports of allergic reactions or overdose complications. Although it is a food supplement in the United States, it is always advisable to consult with your medical doctor before incorporating it into your daily routine.

When you begin to take it, you will need at least 2 weeks to feel any positive effect, if any at all. Oftentimes, as with most dietary supplements, the positive results are not necessarily seen or felt, although it is working nonetheless. With the manufacturing not regulated by the FDA, you may find one brand that is significantly more effective than another. Minimal drug interactions may occur, but none have been proven to be particularly harmful.

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