Food for the Disc: Chondroitin Sulfate

Food for the Disc!

Degenerated discs, protruded discs, bulging discs are all pretty unhealthy discs. They have lower levels of glycosaminoglycan. How do we know? Researchers can figure it out biochemically, and they find that glycosaminoglycan loss appears biochemically before it shows up on imaging like MRI or xray. (1) Now what is glycosaminoglycan?  It's the foundation of white fibrocartilage of the disc. It’s essential for a healthy disc. It draws fluid into the disc to keep it healthy. One way researchers test the disc is using spectrometry testing. With this, they can correlate how degenerated a disc is with how its metabolite levels are. One metabolite is chondroitin sulfate which is glycosaminoglycan: the lower the level of chondroitin sulfate, the greater the degeneration of the discs. (2)

But degenerated discs can be helped, glycosaminoglycan levels may well be improved. They can be provided some food to boost their nutritional status. In Russia, degenerated discs are treated with a drug called structum which is chondroitin sulfate. Patients suffering with non-specific low back pain and vertebral pain are given it sometimes with NSAIDs to help. (3) Another study shows that chondroitin sulfate has lasting effects, up to 3 months after treatment. Chondroitin sulfate also relieves pain, improves join function, is well-tolerated and even allows some patients to reduce their use of anti-inflammatory drugs. (4)

Dr. James Cox started studying disc nutrition and related disc degeneration back in the 1960s when Cole, Ghosh and Taylor came out with their book called “Biochemistry of the Disc” and formulated Discat to feed the discs chondroitin sulfate to enhance glycosaminoglycan levels. Many such formulations are on the market today, yet chondroitin sulfate is still the star nutrient. 

Check out today’s formulation, Discat Plus, which includes chondroitin sulfate as well as the other nutrients found in the disc. You can listen to an audio by Dr. Cox that further discusses this topic of disc degeneration, chondroitin sulfate and glycosaminoglycan.

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