Arthritis + Heart Disease

Chondriotin, Arthritis and Heart Disease

There is more exciting news about chondroitin sulfate (CS). If you have been reading the newsletters regularly, you already know how effective it is in removing the plaque of atherosclerosis. Now, new research from Switzerland has determined that CS is effective in relieving the joint pain of osteoarthritis of the hand. It also reduced the stiffness that accompanies it.

1 in 10 Americans suffers from osteoarthritis of the hand, which can be very debilitating. If you can't button your clothes due to stiffness and pain, your quality of life decreases dramatically. The fact that a double-blinded study gave positive results is significant, even though the WebMD article that reports on the Swiss study discounts the result.

I have a couple of comments regarding the WebMD article that I believe are important.

First of all, the dosage of chondroitin sulfate in the study is modest, only 800 mg daily. If you will remember, the effective dose of CS for atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) is 4,000 to 6,000 mg daily. The maintenance dose is 1600 mg (twice as much as was taken in the study). Therefore, it is no surprise that the results are reported as "modest," although they were statistically significant. The study group simply wasn't given a high enough dosage.

Secondly, the article quotes an American "expert" who criticizes the study because, in Europe, CS is a prescribed drug; and the company that produces it funded the study. What is unmentioned in the article is the fact that the studies in the U.S. that have found no benefit from CS are also funded by drug companies – drug companies whose arthritis drugs compete directly with natural products in the American market.

Another important fact that is glossed over in the WebMD article is that a prior study conducted in the U.S. in 2006 by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine demonstrated that a mixture of chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine sulfate (the most common form of these supplements marketed in the U.S.) was somewhat effective in the treatment of moderate to severe osteoarthritic knee pain. Again, these doses were low. The highest dose of CS was 1500 mg. However, what the study result focuses on is that Celebrex® (a cox-2 inhibitor like Vioxx®) was the most effective in reducing pain. However, if you want to avoid the severe side effects associated with Celebrex®, including sudden cardiac death, it's nice to know that there is a natural alternative for pain relief.

The article makes one valuable point. In supplements, quality is crucial. We only order our supplements from professional suppliers who do independent assays on their products, so that you can be sure you are getting what you have paid for.

On a purely personal note, I have been taking 6,000 mg of CS daily for the past 3 years (at least). The reason I take it is to avoid developing atherosclerosis, which leads to heart disease and blindness in diabetics. My most recent retinal exam revealed that I have absolutely no plague in my retinal arteries. In addition, I can report a marked decrease in my joint pain. Since I am allergic to fish, I don't take the combination supplements that contain glucosamine. Instead, I take 3000 mg daily of methylsufonylmethane (MSM), in addition to pure CS. The combination has been very effective for me.

If you have concerns about atherosclerosis or osteoarthritis, please call and schedule a brief consultation appointment, so that I may assess your nutritional needs in this regard.

Does this apply to your child? If so, see our information on Consultations.