Chondroitin is a substance that was first discovered in the cartilage of cows in 1861 by Emil Fischer, a German chemist. Even before its formal discovery, however, the substance was understood to be an important part of healthy joint function. In recent years, research on chondroitin has made great progress and its various endogenous functions - including actions on the joint of the knee – are now well-documented.
Chondroitin – which owes its name to the Greek word “chondros,” meaning “cartilage” – is primarily contained in the joint cartilage, but you can find it throughout your body. In addition to the hard tissues such as the joint cartilage and bones, chondroitin is in most organs and tissues, such as the central nervous tissue.
Why do your joints feel uncomfortable?
Joint cartilage is a bluish, gel-like tissue with a thickness of 4 to 6 mm, which covers the tip of a bone. It has a net-like framework made of collagen fibers entangled with proteoglycans, including chondroitin. It is softer than a bone and contains a clear, thick lubricating substance known as synovial fluid. This fluid creates a complete lack of friction, similar to that of ice sliding across ice. Now, that's a smooth glide! Due to the presence of this cartilage, the bones of the joint do not come into direct contact and can move smoothly. The joint cartilage protects your bones and joints. And it is chondroitin that protects this joint cartilage.
Chondroitin (“chondroitin sulfate”) is formed through sulfation of “Chondroitin” that is synthesized from monosaccharide (glucose) and amino acid (L-glutamine), through glucosamine formation in the body. The enzyme participating in the sulfation reaction, “chondroitin sulfatase,” shows major decreases in its activity with aging. In other words, there is less of this chemical present as you age. This causes a decrease in chondroitin content in the cartilage, leading to a serious decline in the elasticity and plasticity, and subsequently to wearing out or breaking down of the joint cartilage. Under those conditions, the bones rub against each other and are damaged or deformed, causing compression of sensory nerves, which results in joint pain and stiffness.
Replacement of chondroitin enables the impaired joint cartilage caused by decreased activity of chondroitin sulfatase to recover its original elasticity and plasticity.
Taking chondroitin supplements daily enhances the protection of the joint cartilage, leading to the protection of the bones
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