Molecule from shark cartilage fights joint pain

London, 18. Sep 2011 (IANS)

Chondroitin, a molecule sourced from shark cartilage and pig ears, has emerged as a wonder remedy for joint pains, says a study.

Small studies have found that arthritic sufferers taking chondroitin require only fewer pain killers — yet larger trials proved inconclusive.

Now a study, from the Geneva School of Medicine, finally backs up popular claims that chondroitin is really effective for painful joints.

In a double blind trial over six months, researchers followed 162 patients with arthritis in their hands. Those taking 800 mg of chondroitin daily, almost double the recommended dose, reported lowered hand pain and increased grip strength.

A double blind trial means that neither the test subject nor the researcher administering the trial knows whether the test subject is receiving the experimental treatment.

Half the patients given dummy pills, believing them to be real, reported no improvement in symptoms, demonstrating the beneficial effects of chondroitin, the Daily Mail reports.

Even otherwise, sufferers insist that chondroitin eases pain and can potentially rebuild the cartilage, the tough, connective tissue that cushions the joints, giving them elasticity, if taken for a longer period of time.

Vets have been using combinations of chondroitin and glucosamine to treat dogs and horses with arthritic conditions for the past 20 years.

Nutritionist Sarah Brewer said: ‘I have seen dogs absolutely transformed by taking these supplements, often being given a new lease of life. You can’t apply a placebo effect to an animal.’

So just what is this bizarre substance, and how does it work? Chondroitin is a molecule that occurs naturally in the body — a major component of cartilage.

It also stimulates the production of new cartilage and prevents existing cartilage from breaking down.

Unfortunately, our natural supplies decrease with age. The theory is that by consuming chondroitin, our natural stock can be preserved and even replenished.

As cartilage is inedible and indigestible, supplements containing concentrated powdered forms of the substance are the only way of consuming it.

Brewer recommended taking up to 1,200 mg of combined chondroitin and glucosamine tablets daily as they work together as inflammatories, reducing pain.

Source : India Current Affairs

Related Scientific Study :

Manuscript online: 6 SEP 2011

Symptomatic effect of chondroitin sulfate 4&6 in hand osteoarthritis the finger osteoarthritis chondroitin treatment study (FACTS)

Cem Gabay, Carole Medinger-Sadowski, Danielle Gascon, Frank Kolo, Axel Finck.


To evaluate the symptomatic effect of highly purified chondroitin 4&6 sulfate (CS) in patients with hand osteoarthritis (OA).
This investigator initiated, single-center, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, clinical trial included 162 symptomatic patients with radiographic hand OA (ACR criteria). Inclusion criteria included global spontaneous hand pain on a 0-100 mm visual analogue scale (VAS) of at least 40 mm, and a level of functional impairment of at least 6 on the Functional Index for Hand OA (FIHOA: 0-30 scale), in the most symptomatic hand. Patients received either 800 mg CS (n=80 patients) or placebo (n= 82 patients) once daily for 6 months and were analyzed in an intent-to-treat approach. The two primary outcomes were the change from baseline to month 6 in global spontaneous hand pain and in hand function. Secondary outcomes were improvement in grip strength, duration of morning stiffness, acetaminophen consumption, and a global impression of efficacy.
Decrease in global hand pain was significantly more pronounced in the CS than in the placebo group (VAS: -8.7 mm, P=0.02). Hand function improved significantly more in the CS than in the placebo group (FIHOA: -2.14, P=0.008). There was a statistically significant difference between groups in favour of CS for the duration of morning stiffness and for the global impression on treatment efficacy. Evolution of grip strength, acetaminophen consumption, and safety endpoints were not significantly different between the two groups.
This study demonstrates that CS improves hand pain and function in symptomatic hand OA, with a good safety profile.

American College of Rheumatology DOI: 10.1002/art.30574

Source: Wiley Online Library



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