Naturally produced by the body, chondroitin is an essential component of cartilage. It is also found in the bones, skin, cornea and arterial membranes. It plays a crucial role in building and maintaining cartilage tissue, ensuring that cartilage retains water, as well as its elasticity and strength, and that the joints remain supple.
How does chondroitin work?
While its mechanism of action is not yet fully understood, we do know it promotes the reconstruction of cartilage by partly inhibiting hyaluronidase, the enzyme responsible for its destruction. It’s also thought to inhibit osteoclasts, key cells involved in the loss of bone substance, as well as to play an active part in the inflammatory process and to increase synthesis of proteoglycans and hyaluronic acid, the gel which lubricates the joints.
Chondroitin supplementation: what are the desired effects?
Over the last few decades, chondroitin has been the subject of several studies and meta-analyses which have confirmed its efficacy not only for relieving symptoms of joint problems (particularly those of arthritis1) but also for helping to slow down their development2. These are significant conclusions as joint problems are often seen as both inevitable and untreatable. However, while there’s still no 100% effective treatment, there are number of ways of obtaining relief. The simple act of not giving up, continuing with your daily activities despite the pain, not giving in to negativity, already constitutes an effective form of treatment. Other natural solutions such as chondroitin, along with Arnica gel and Boswellia extract (available from Supersmart as ), are very helpful in improving mobility and perception of pain.
Chondroitin is a molecule which also offers preventive benefits. Today, those of us who live in affluent countries have a worryingly high risk of developing arthritis – 25% for arthritis of the hip1 and 45% for arthritis of the knee2. Most people are largely unaware of the preventive options available, including chondroitin, particularly relevant for those with a genetic predisposition. Since such individuals carry genetic abnormalities which increase their likelihood of developing the disease (including mutations connected with collagen composition), they need to be especially careful about lifestyle factors (excess weight, physical inactivity, poor diet and stress) in order to maximise their chances of avoiding the disease.
Is chondroitin well-absorbed?
We raise this point because chondroitin is a very large molecule. While products with a low molecular weight (of less than 16,000 daltons) can be absorbed completely, absorption of the largest molecules may be between just 8% and 18%3. This rate of absorption is still sufficient, however, to ensure that the chondroitin delivers clinical benefits for joint health. Be aware though that tests have shown some supplements to contain very little chondroitin due to its high cost. This is not the case with Chondroitin Sulfate 95% (400 mg) which remains unquestionably the best product on the market, as a result of its marine origin raw material, its pharmaceutical quality and its active principle concentration evaluated at 95%.
The recommended dose is 3 vegetarian capsules a day, preferably taken with food, which is equivalent to a daily dose of 1200mg.
- Chondroitin sulphate for symptomatic osteoarthritis: critical appraisal of meta-analyses. Monfort J, Martel-Pelletier J, Pelletier JP. Curr Med Res Opin. 2008 May;24(5):1303-8. Review.
- Hochberg MC. Structure-modifying effects of chondroitin sulfate in knee osteoarthritis: an updated meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials of 2-year duration. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2010 Jun;18 Suppl 1:S28-31. Review.
- Conte A, de Bernardi M, Palmieri L, et al. Metabolic fate of exogenous chondroitin sulfate in man. Arzneimittelforschung 1991; 41:768-72.
CompositionChondroitin Sulfate 95% 400 mg
|Daily serving: 3 capsules
Number of servings per bottle: 30
|Chondroitin sulfate (of marine origin)
||1 200 mg
| Other ingredients: Acacia gum, rice flour. |
Each capsule contains 400 mg of Chondroitin sulfate.
Directions for useChondroitin Sulfate 95% 400 mg
Adults. Take three vegetarian capsules per day (one with each meal).
Warning: Do not take if you have an allergy to shellfish.
What is hyaluronic acid?
Over the past few years, hyaluronic acid has received significant attention from both the medical press and the cosmetics sector. It’s a polysaccharide macromolecule from the glycosaminoglycan family which is abundant in the skin and synovial fluid (the viscous fluid surrounding our joints). Under normal conditions, the human body contains around 12g.
It’s produced by cells called chondrocytes and synoviocytes to increase the viscosity of synovial fluid, which improves lubrication of the joints. It also helps maintain good hydration in the skin by capturing water and retaining it in the skin’s deeper layers (1). In some cases, it also reduces the concentration of inflammatory mediators and activity of immune cells.
The viscosity of the gel depends on the chain length of the hyaluronic acid. The higher its molecular weight, the greater the molecule’s capacity for absorbing water. Therefore, with a molecular weight of 1.2 million Daltons, Hyaluronic Acid 150 mg is one of the best sodium hyaluronate supplements available.
How is hyaluronic acid produced?
Hyaluronic acid is obtained in two different ways:
- by extraction from rooster combs, after which it is crushed, chemically treated and purified;
- by bacterial fermentation: strands of hyaluronic acid are produced from innocuous bacteria.
Hyaluronic Acid 150 mg is made using the second of these methods. It is therefore 100% suitable for vegetarians and vegans and offers guaranteed, controlled optimal purity.
The human body is itself able to produce hyaluronic acid via a mechanism discovered around 20 years ago by Professor Paul Weigel and his team. Synthesis occurs at the inner side of plasma membranes and is a fast, effective and unique process.
What are hyaluronic acid’s properties?
Hyaluronic acid is present in the form of sodium hyaluronate (also called hyaluronan) in the synovial fluid surrounding joints. It usually has a molecular weight of more than 1 million Daltons and under normal conditions, is highly concentrated. As a result of its specific structure and considerable size, it can retain enormous amounts of water (up to 1000 times its own weight), and all the nutrients and hydrophilic substances that go with it. It is solely responsible for the viscosity and elasticity of synovial fluid.
In certain disease states, both the concentration and molecular weight of sodium hyaluronate decrease, contributing to an increase in inflammatory processes and adverse effects on cartilage (2).
Is high molecular weight hyaluronic acid well-absorbed?
It was long believed that when taken orally, hyaluronic acid had no real clinical benefit because of its particularly high molecular weight. In fact, the bioavailability of orally-administered hyaluronic acid is well-documented (3).
Animal studies, which were somewhat late in investigating this question, have shown that when administered orally, part of the hyaluronic acid molecules are perfectly capable of reaching the bloodstream and various body tissues. This discovery concurs with the recorded effects of hyaluronic acid supplementation in horses and other animals (4-6) as well as in humans (7-8).
It’s believed that these molecules cross the gut wall via micro-particles (9-10) and that part of them reaches peripheral tissues such as the skin and joints without any difficulty. The transport of hyaluronic acid in the body is, in any case, a completely normal physiological process (11-12).
It’s therefore entirely appropriate that hyaluronic acid should be available in dietary supplement form (13-15). Supplements represent an alternative to the HA injections given by health professionals and recommended by the European League against Rheumatism (EULAR).
Why is it better to take high molecular weight hyaluronic acid?
Studies show that low molecular weight hyaluronic acid molecules have a completely different function in the body: they can activate cascades of molecular events which trigger the release of inflammatory cytokines. Following trauma, enzymes break the hyaluronic acid up into multiple molecules of lower molecular weight which have a pro-inflammatory effect.
These effects are not seen with large hyaluronic acid molecules, which supports the belief that they are not broken down by digestive enzymes before crossing the intestinal barrier.
What other measures can be combined with taking Hyaluronic Acid 150mg?
Alongside supplementation with hyaluronic acid, the following steps are highly recommended:
- gradually increase the time you spend exercising every day;
- avoid making too many repetitive movements or putting too much strain on painful joints;
- don’t stay immobile for any length of time: regularly change position to reduce muscle and joint stiffness;
- consider physiotherapy or phytotherapy for reducing pain. For example, the boswellic acid in the natural supplement Super Boswellia helps to reduce joint pain and inflammation
Should hyaluronic acid capsules be taken every day?
The life of a hyaluronic acid molecule is relatively short, ranging from 12 hours to a few days. It’s thought that a third of the body’s total hyaluronic acid composition is renewed each day under normal circumstances. A daily dose of two 150mg capsules is therefore recommended.
This dose is not associated with any adverse side-effects, whether taken for short periods (two weeks) or indeed for up to 12 months.
Dr. Nahon’s view
The huge advantage of this method is that it offers an alternative to painful and sometimes dreaded injections. Oral administration of hyaluronic acid is simple and safe and produces the same results as those demonstrated in recent scientific studies.
It’s worth noting that there is no difference between men and women in terms of the treatment’s activity.
This product should not be used as a substitute for a varied, balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. It’s important to follow the directions for use, the recommended daily dose and the ‘use-by’ date. It is not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or for children under 15. Keep out of reach of young children. Store in a cool, dry place.
CompositionHyaluronic Acid 150 mg
|Daily dose: 2 capsules
Number of doses per pack: 30
|High molecular weight sodium hyaluronate
||300 mg |
| Other ingredients: acacia gum, rice flour. |
Directions for useHyaluronic Acid 150 mg
adults. Take 2 capsules a day.
Each vegetarian capsule contains 150 mg of high molecular weight sodium hyaluronate.