A recent review of the variations in composition of different chondroitin sulfate formulations has concluded that the supplement is under-regulated and requires standardisation to ensure its quality, efficacy and safety.
The researchers, from the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM) and the Institut Mar d’Investigacions Mèdiques in Barcelona, write that nutraceutical-grade chondroitin sulfate varies greatly in preparation, composition, purity and efficacy, highlighting that some products have only a negligible amount of the joint supplement. They also point out that even products with reasonable amounts showed widely differing effects in vitro with some showing weak anti-inflammatory action, and some even producing pro-inflammatory effects.
“This could be related to contaminants, which depend on the origin, production and purification process,” say the researchers, adding that these variations are likely one of the reasons why although some studies have concluded that chondroitin has a beneficial effect on symptoms and structure, others have found little or no benefit.
The reserachers conclude: “It is therefore vitally important that only pharmaceutical-grade chondroitin sulfate be used for treating osteoarthritis patients.”
The review was backed by Spanish chondroitin sulfate supplier Bioiberica.