The Matrix And Injuries




Glucosamine Sulfate

Glucosamine sulfate is one of the basic substrates for synthesis of these important macromolecules in connective tissue. The synthesis of glucosamine from glucose and glutamine is the rate-limiting step in GAG production, and hence in repairing cartilage.

Following cartilage trauma or tearing, the body may not be able to make enough glucosamine for optimal healing. In addition, the ability to convert glucose to glucosamine declines with age because of a reduction in the amount of the enzyme glucosamine synthetase.

Several studies have shown the beneficial effects of glucosamine on articular cartilage. A recent meta-analysis looking at all the available studies on glucosamine and chondroitin studies found that both, and especially glucosamine, were effective for the alleviation of pain, inflammation, and in maintaining and improving the structural integrity of joints.

A recent study looking at the effects of both glucosamine and chondroitin on cartilage cells concluded that “by enhancing the “protective” metabolic response of chondrocytes to stress, glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate may improve its ability for repair and regeneration.” In a more recent study, the authors found that glucosamine had preventative effects on arthritis in rats.

A study published in 2002 done on athletic horses found that glucosamine inhibited cartilage catabolic responses and also prevented IL-1beta-induced increases in nitric oxide production, prostaglandin E2, and proteoglycan release.

Chondroitin Sulfate

Chondroitin sulfate is a major component of cartilage. It is a very large molecule, composed of repeated units of glucosamine sulfate. Like glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate attracts water into the cartilage matrix and stimulates the production of cartilage. Likewise, it has the ability to prevent enzymes from dissolving cartilage.

Several studies have shown the beneficial effects of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate on the musculoskeletal system (see above). A recent study found that the combination of chondroitin and glucosamine was more effective than chondroitin alone.

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