Chemical structure of one unit in a chondroitin sulfate chain. Chondroitin-4-sulfate: R1 = H; R2 = SO3H; R3 = H. Chondroitin-6-sulfate: R1 = SO3H; R2, R3 = H.
Chondroitin sulfate is a sulfated glycosaminoglycan (GAG) composed of a chain of alternating sugars (N-acetylgalactosamine and glucuronic acid). It is usually found attached to proteins as part of a proteoglycan. A chondroitin chain can have over 100 individual sugars, each of which can be sulfated in variable positions and quantities. Chondroitin sulfate is an important structural component of cartilage and provides much of its resistance to compression. Along with glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate has become a widely used dietary supplement for treatment of osteoarthritis.
Chondroitin Sulfate has several functions. It delivers nutrients to the joint cartilage, helps to inhibit the enzymes that decompose the joint cartilage and speeds up the formation of a new joint cartilage. As a result, the elasticity and plasticity, which are the functions of the joint cartilage can be maintained through the use of Chondroitin Sulfate.
In recent years, research has made great progress, and its various functions including actions on the joint of the knee has become elucidated one after another. As a result, it is now considered an essential substance for the maintenance of healthy joints.
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