Chondroitin: Forgotten hero

If you use a joint supplement for osteoarthritis (OA) I want you to stop reading and get the bottle and check the amount of chondroitin sulphate (CS) in the daily dose. In most products CS will form 10-20% of the total formula. If your does, it will be typical of the many older style joint formulas available.

Glucosamine is used to make the building blocks of compounds need to make cartilage. Chondroitin is different. It is an actual component of cartilage where it adds significant strength especially resistance to compression.

A few years ago when I was completing my clinical studies in Nutritional Medicine one of my assignments was to review the scientific literature on natural treatments for OA. I found many studies on glucosamine, many studies on combinations of glucosamine and chondroitin but few for CS alone.

Recent Chondroitin research

Then I found the study that changed it all for me. Published in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases (Wildi et al, 2011) the study title is: “Chondroitin sulphate reduces both cartilage volume loss and bone marrow lesions in knee osteoarthritis patients starting as early as 6 months after initiation of therapy: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study using MRI.” You read the study yourself at http://ard.bmj.com/content/70/6/982.full

Eighty people with similar grades of knee OA were chosen. Half the participants were given 800mg of CS as 400mg twice daily for 6 months. The other group was given a placebo. The 2 groups were then compared after 6 months and the group using CS had much better outcomes. OA is characterised by loss of cartilage volume and the CS group had much lower rates of cartilage loss than the placebo.

The next phase then gave all the participants 800mg of CS for another 6 months. The same results occurred. Those that had been on the placebo showed a reduction in cartilage loss while the group that had continued with CS now for 12 months continued with much less cartilage loss.

Bettaflex

Bettaflex is unusual in that it has equal amounts of glucosamine and chondroitin. I am sure that the main reason people get such good results is the high amounts of chondroitin.

Those who have been on one of my joint health programme will know that I usually start with a higher dose of 2 capsules twice daily. This is delivering 1600mg of chondroitin, 1600mg of glucosamine and 400mg of our proprietary curcumin (from turmeric) extract. Click here to read more

This does several things. The high doses of chondroitin help to stabilise and improve cartilage function. This also helps improve the function of specialised cartilage secreting cells called chondrocytes. The higher doses of curcumin help to reduce fluid from unwanted inflammation and help calm the joint capsule. The results can be significant.

The majority of people who take Bettaflex notice a real difference in their joint health including greater comfort and mobility. My client files are full of testimonies of improvements using Bettaflex as part of a Joint Health programme.

I like to treat osteoarthritis on an individual basis. This is because each person’s situation is different and often people have other health problems that we can deal with at the same time. Feel free to contact me for individual advice.

John Arts (B.Soc.Sci, Dip Tch, Adv.Dip.Nut.Med.) is a nutritional medicine practitioner and founder of Abundant Health. If you have questions or need help you can contact John 0800 423559.  You can email John at john@abundant.co.nz.

Please note that the health advice given through this column is for general educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any health problem. © John Arts 2018

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