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chondroitin's effectiveness goes on
A Spanish chondroitin sulfate manufacturer
has weighed in on the debate over the negative results of a
meta-analysis recently published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
One of the
most popular supplements for joint health, chrondroitin is taken by
over seven million Americans according to the Natural Products
Association (NPA). The meta-analysis - which was led by Stephan
Reichenbach from the University of Bern - reviewed 20 studies using the
compound, but based its conclusion on three studies.
This methodology drew criticism from the
dietary supplements industry after the meta-analysis maintained
chondroitin has the same effect as placebo for osteoarthritis in the
hip and knee. One of the many companies with a vested interest in any
negative publicity on chondroitin, Bioiberica, issued a statement on
parameter used in this study is pain, but it should be borne in mind
that chondroitin sulfate is not an analgesic," said Dr. Josep Verges,
scientific director with Bioiberica, "Specifically, chondroitin sulfate
presents an anti-inflammatory effect, which in turn results in pain
Verges drew attention to the
Glucosamine/chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (GAIT) referred to
in the meta-analysis.
"At the same time, in the GAIT trial, also
cited by the authors as one of the recent, large-scale trials on
chondroitin sulfate, the patients in the chondroitin sulfate group
presented a statistically significant improvement on joint
effusion/swelling, thus evidencing an effect on inflammation," said
Verges in the statement.
sulphate is extracted from animal cartilage like shark cartilage. It is
increasingly combined with glucosamine for joint health.
important to keep in mind that most consumers use a combination of
glucosamine and chondroitin, not just chondroitin by itself," said
NPA's VP of scientific affairs, Daniel Fabricant.
to the Nutrition Business Journal, US sales for these combined
supplements were $810 million in 2005.
and other researchers from the University of Bristol and the University
of Gottingen, searched through four scientific databases and selected
randomized or quasi-randomized studies.
They drew on 20 trials consisting of 3846
participants. However, the results were heterogeneous, said the
researchers, so they restricted their analysis to only three.
reviewed the analysis and found that, among other things, no
distinction was made between mild, moderate and severe osteoarthritis,
which all involve very different treatment regimens," said Fabricant.
supplies chondroitin as part of its Bio-active ingredient line, which
also includes glucosamine and sodium hyaluronate.
a better knowledge of the osteoarticular pathology to understand
underlying mechanisms of osteoarthritis, a better or worse response on
pain, etc, as well as ongoing clinical trials will provide more
knowledge on this issue," said Verges.
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