What are the benefits of glucosamine and chondroitin?

I have a 13-year-old warmblood gelding. We compete on a regular basis in the adult equitation and hunters and I’ve been thinking of adding a joint supplement to his nutrition program. What are the benefits of glucosamine and chondroitin?

– Leslie M., Landrum, SC

Providing a joint supplement to your horse sounds like a wise investment to me! Research shows that the major ingredients found in oral joint supplements (like the glucosamine and chondroitin you mention) can promote cartilage production and slow cartilage breakdown. They can even protect joint tissues against the damaging effects of inflammation. In short, joint supplements can be an insurance policy for your horse’s career and welfare that you can’t afford to pass up. Here’s specific information on the most common joint supplement ingredients:

Glucosamine – stimulates production of Chondroitin Sulfate; inhibits free radicals and enzymes that break down cartilage Chondroitin Sulfate – stimulates production of Hyaluronic Acid and proteoglycans; also inhibits enzymes that break down cartilage

Hyaluronic Acid – integral component of joint fluid and articular cartilage; provides lubrication and shock absorption

MSM – source of sulfur for building and repairing cartilage; helps control discomfort and inflammation

[Ed. note: Originally printed in the May 2010 issue of Salt Block Gazette]

Lydia Gray, DVM MA, is the Staff Veterinarian for SmartPak. Prior to joining SmartPak, Dr. Gray served as the first-ever Director of Owner Education for the American Association of Equine Practitioners. She has authored numerous articles in publications such as The Horse, Horse Illustrated, Western Horseman and a variety of veterinary journals and magazines. Dr. Gray is also a frequent speaker at horse expos, veterinary conventions and other events. After graduating with honors from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine and receiving her Master's Degree in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication, she practiced at the Tremont Veterinary Clinic for several years. Dr. Gray is active in the American Veterinary Medical Association and Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association. She enjoys training and showing her Trakehner, Newman, in both combined driving and dressage, and is a USDF “L” Program Graduate (with distinction). Find Dr. Gray on Google+

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3 comments on “What are the benefits of glucosamine and chondroitin?
  1. Pam Thomas says:

    My vet just recommended this plus Fish oil for my one year old Boxer mix dog. It’s being sent with my smart pak order :)

  2. Darlene Anderson says:

    Have my 22 year old Belgian draft on senior flex for the past year and he acts like he is 12 years old. Plays hard with my 6 year old TWH. Thanks Smartpak.

  3. Kelsey says:

    Smartflex repair has saved both my event horses and ensured they will have long, pain free careers! Looking to rolex in the near future!!

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