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Chondroitin sulfate and prostate cancer

Chondroitin sulfate and prostate cancer

chondroitin sulfateIn this article, I would like to share with you some disturbing evidence that shows a link between chondroitin sulfate and prostate cancer.

As you probably know, chondroitin is a basic ingredient of many supplements that are commercially available to be consumed by people who suffer from arthritis.

Let me give you a little background on what chondroitin is and why it is supposed to help with arthritis symptoms: The underlying cause for arthritis is a condition in your body called inflammation. Due to inflammation, the joints get inflamed and this in turn inflicts damage on the cartilage which is basically the cushion between the bones and is normally smooth. Because of the inflammation, the cartilage loses its smoothness, thus causing friction between the bones and ensuing pain. Since chondroitin is a basic component of cartilage, extra supplementation of chondroitin should normally result in the improvement of the cartilage.

But, unfortunately, a serious complication emerged with the patients who regularly took chondroitin supplements. According to his article published in the July 2002 issue of Health Science International titled “Natural Doesn’t Always Mean Harmless: Arthritis Supplement Could Lead to the Spread of Prostate Cancer”, a leading cancer specialist by the name of Charles Myers Jr., reported, according to clinical research he performed, two findings: First, that the substance chondroitin is often present in prostatic tumors and secondly, the probability of prostate cancer spreading more is higher when the concentration of chondroitin in tissue is increased.

To be more specific, in the study that he makes reference to in his article, he reports that measurements were performed on men who had their prostate glands removed due to cancer. After five years of monitoring the levels of chondroitin in the tissues around the prostate, it was established that they could separate the patients into two groups: In the first group where the level of chondroitin was relatively low, the reoccurrence of cancer was as low as 14%, whereas in the second group where the chondroitin was high, the reoccurrence of prostate cancer was as high as 47%.

What is the overall conclusion based on this finding? The answer is simple; never take a supplement for arthritis which contains chondroitin alone.

Safe Alternatives

There are two alternatives to this:

(1) What experts propose is that instead of taking chondroitin, arthritis sufferers can embark on supplementation based on glucosamine and MSM.

First, glucosamine is also, like chondroitin, a constituent of the cartilage we have in our joints. Several medical studies point to the fact that supplementation based on this compound indeed exhibits inflammation and pain reducing properties caused by arthritis. In case you have noticed that more often than not glucosamine supplements are combined with chondroitin, let me tell you that there is no conclusive evidence that the combination of the two is more effective than supplementation based on glucosamine alone.

Now, coming to MSM, this is a naturally occurring sulphur compound. Its effectiveness on arthritis symptoms is attributed to the fact that damaged cartilage can greatly be improved by bonding with sulphur.

As a matter of fact, this fact is backed by clinical evidence: During a double blinded study that was performed at the UCLA, patients with arthritis were administered with MSM for 6 weeks. After the time expired, based on patients’ feedback, there was an overall 82% reduction in pain.

(2) Of course, no matter how effective glucosamine and MSM are in combating arthritis symptoms, the fact remains that they are synthetic pharmaceuticals and as such, they might exhibit adverse side effects, especially with regard to liver function.

Therefore, another type of supplements that scientists suggest to be taken as an alternative, are those that consist of natural ingredients, high in anti oxidants and having anti-inflammatory properties.

One of these types of supplements are those that have green lipped mussel as their basic ingredient.

If you are interested in learning more about the pros and cons of the different green lipped mussel supplements that are commercially available, you can visit my green lipped mussel brand comparison page, where you will find links to detailed reviews of the leading brands. This information will help you decide which one is the best for you.

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