Published June 19, 2013
Chondroitin, also known as Chondroitin sulfate, occurs naturally in the body and is a building block of healthy joint tissue. It is a major component of cartilage. Cartilage is the tough connective tissue that acts like a cushion for the joints, absorbing the shock of impact from walking, running and daily activities. Chondroitin is also important for the normal growth and maintenance of cartilage.1 It helps keep cartilage healthy by acting a bit like bait, attracting fluid into the connective tissue surrounding the joint. This provides further shock absorption and lubrication, as well as a supply of nutrients to the cartilage to support growth and regeneration. It may also help to maintain joint health by blocking break down cartilage.1
Chondroitin is not only found in concentrated amounts in cartilage but can also be found in high amounts in the intestines, liver, kidney, and the slippery fluid that surrounds the joint and keeps joints mobile, known as synovial fluid.2
Chondroitin is glucosamine’s ‘partner’ and is often seen in combination with glucosamine, another important component of healthy joint tissue. There has been much research to support the use of the combination of glucosamine and chondroitin together to support joint health and assist in the management of the joint pain and inflammation of osteoarthritis. This combination has been scientifically researched to temporarily relieve pain in people with moderate to severe knee pain due to osteoarthritis.3
Why your body needs Chondroitin
Healthy joints are vital to an overall sense of health and well-being. We need healthy joints to lead a healthy and active life, free from pain. Healthy joints will keep the body mobile with less physical limitations as we age. Unfortunately our joints are subjected to considerable wear and tear throughout life. Chondroitin sulfate assists in the maintenance of healthy joints and may improve joint function by increasing mobility and flexibility, to help keep an active life. In joint conditions such as osteoarthritis, the cartilage in the joints breaks down. Taking chondroitin sulfate may slow down this breakdown by supporting the cartilage.
Health benefits of Chondroitin
The health benefits of Chondroitin sulfate are mostly related to supporting the health of the joints. However, chondroitin has also been shown to support and maintain the health of the skin and provide temporary relief for dry and itchy skin. Chondroitin has also been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect.2 Other health benefits of Chondroitin include:
- May help temporarily reduce joint pain and swelling associated with mild osteoarthritis.
- May help reduce cartilage loss.
- Maintains healthy finger joints.
- Joint nutrient required for growth and maintenance of healthy cartilage.
In combination with glucosamine has been scientifically researched to temporarily relieve pain in people with moderate to severe knee pain due to osteoarthritis.3
Dietary sources of Chondroitin
There are no major dietary sources of Chondroitin sulfate so most people choose to take a supplement for a therapeutic benefit.1 Chondroitin is naturally present in the gristle part of meat. In supplement form it is generally produced from natural sources such as shark or bovine cartilage (usually tracheal.)2 Chondroitin sulfate in supplement form is often in combination with Glucosamine.
Signs you might benefit from Chondroitin
Most of the signs that you may benefit from Chondroitin sulfate supplements are related to joint health and arthritis. Arthritis related problems include pain, stiffness, inflammation and breakdown or damage to cartilage and surrounding structures. This causes joint weakness, instability and lack of mobility that can interfere with the most simple of daily tasks such as walking, driving a car and cooking food.4 Mild osteoarthritis is a common type of arthritis which results from injury, overuse, ageing and excess weight. It is the most common chronic joint problem, and often affects the weight-bearing joints such as the hips, knees and ankles as well as the spine, hands and feet.