So is Glucosamine and Chondroiton Supplementation Really Effective for Joint Health? Recently, it seems like we keep hearing conflicting reports on whether Glucosamine & Chondroiton are nutrients that we can count on for repairing and rebuilding joint cartilage and promoting joint health.
So what is true?
As we age, our joint cartilage tends to thin, predisposing it to damage the bones that make up the joints. In an attempt to repair the damage, the body’s immune cells create inflammation. The inflammation often becomes misdirected, chronic and unhealthy, and can actually increase the damage to the joints. A good analogy for inflammation is to think of your joint as a house on fire. You must first put out the fire before you can rebuild the house, or your efforts will be in vain.
Inflammation affects tens of millions of Americans and millions more around the world. It can wreak havoc not only with joints but throughout the entire body, even the brain. The health of every major organ system – cardiovascular, immune,neurological, musculoskeletal, even your metabolism – is intimately dependent upon a healthy inflammation response.
How does Glucosamine and Chondroiton work?
Glucosamine is an amino sugar that plays an essential role in the building of cartilage that cushions and protects the body’s joints. The body uses glucosamine sulfate, a natural glucosamine compound, to stimulate cells to create one of the main building blocks of joint cartilage- proteoglycans. Chondroiton sulfate attracts and holds large amounts of water to the cartilage-building proteoglycan molecules. Since cartilage has no blood supply, this fluid is necessary to nourish and lubricate joints. Glucosamine and Chondroiton work together to supply the building blocks to stimulate joint cells to create new joint cartilage.
I believe that the controversy on whether Glucosamine and Chondroiton are effective depends on two important factors:
1.The source of the nutrients (isolated nutrients vs. whole food sources)
2.Controlling the inflammation (natural herbs vs. prescription drugs)
Source of Nutrients – Whole Foods vs. Isolates
There has been much discussion and studies on the effectiveness of whole food sourced nutrients over the isolated, laboratory extracted nutrients. Whole food sources of nutrients provide a vast array of additional support nutrients known as cofactors or micronutrients that are missing in isolated nutrients. So in addition to these whole food micronutrients providing more nutritional support, they also enhance the effectiveness and absorption of all the nutrients. For more information on whole food sources of nutrients including whole food vitamins, see my article entitled "Cultured, Whole Food Vitamins & Supplements - Best Source of Dietary Supplementation".
A good example of whole-food sourced nutrients would be Chicken Collagen (Type II) because it contains naturally occurring Chondroiton and Glucosamine sulfates. It is the principal structural protein in cartilage that provides strength, flexibility and support and contains anti-inflammatory properties. Type II chicken collagen has been clinically demonstrated to decrease pain and discomfort stemming from joint disorders. The compounds in Chicken Collagen provide the structural support of healthy joints by promoting new cartilage synthesis and by reducing oxidative damage to the joints. This whole food source of Chondroiton and Glucosamine is much more effective at building joints, reducing pain and inflammation than isolated forms of these same nutrients.
For best results, I suggest using a joint formula from whole food nutrition sources that contains Type II chicken collagen like the complete bone and joint formula called CapraFlex by Mt. Capra or one of the comprehensive joint and tissue formulas called FYI Ultra or FYI - For Your Inflammation by Garden of Life.
Controlling or Reducing the Inflammation (Naturally vs. Prescriptions)
Since inflammation is a naturally occurring process with joint degeneration, it is important to quench the fires of inflammation in order to allow the joint tissues to regenerate. If we have a choice to reduce inflammation with drugs that have side-effects or a natural, herbal alternative that is free of side-effects, I think the choice is obvious. Scientists have discovered many herbs that, if sufficiently concentrated and intelligently blended, can safely, powerfully, and naturally modulate inflammation.
One of the most impressive herbal therapeutic formulas for non-chronic inflammation management is called Zyflamend by New Chapter. Zyflamend is a unique patented herbal formula that represents a scientific breakthrough in the maintenance of a healthy inflammation response. Zyflamend is recommended by leading experts and practitioners in the field of integrative medicine.
Zyflamend by New Chapter contains ten tonic herbs expertly blended by world-renowned herbalist, Paul Schulick. Not only does Zyflamend safely promote a healthy inflammation response and maintain normal cell growth, it also promotes cardiovascular health and supports a healthy gastrointestinal tract. It continues to undergo impressive clinical trials at some of the most respected research institutions in the world. Recent research studies suggest daily Zyflamend supplementation may be an effective strategy to modulate inflammation and promote healthy joint and prostate function, normal cell growth, and healthy heart function.
In my opinion as a Clinical Nutritionist and Herbalist, the best and most effective approach to joint health requires both the presence of building blocks for new cartilage and a healthy inflammation response. Zyflamend helps with modulating joint inflammation; while Glucosamine and Chondroiton (from natural sources like Type II chicken collagen in CapraFlex, FYI Ultra or FYI) work together to supply the building blocks to stimulate joint cells to create new joint cartilage.
The statements contained in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information contained here is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Suggestions and ideas presented in this article are for information only and should not be interpreted as medical advice, meant for diagnosing illness, or for prescriptive purposes. The information in this document is not to be used to replace the services or instructions of a physician or qualified health care practitioner.
Christine Dreher, CCN, CCH is a Nutritionist, Herbalist, Author of “The "Cleanse Cookbook" and President & Founder of Christine's Cleanse Corner, Inc., (a nutritional company that specializes in nutritional & health education & Whole Food Vitamin Supplements. Christine is the Editor & Publisher of the free, online "Transform Your Health" Nutrition and Health E-Newsletter. She is also a Health/Nutritional Speaker & Teacher, & a Nutritional, Diet & Internal Cleanse Consultant, and a Live Beyond Organic Mission Marketer.
Christine is also the Official Self Growth Guide for Dietary Supplements. For more information about New Chapter, Garden of Life or Vitamin Code and other Whole Food Vitamin supplements and herbs, visit Christine on the web at: www.TransformYourHealth.com or call Christine's office at 858-673-0224. ___________________________________________________________