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Chondroitin sulfate is one of the major constituents of cartilage. Chondroitin sulfate consists of repeating chains of molecules called mucopolysaccharides. It is a primary part of cartilage. Classified as a type of glycosaminoglycan, chondroitin sulfate is rich in sulfur and is a relative of glucosamine. Animal cartilage is the only significant food source of Chondroitin sulfate.

Not only does chondroitin provide structure and holds water and nutrients, but it allows other molecules to move through cartilage. This is a very important property, as there is no blood supply to cartilage. As a result, joint support is greatly increased through supplementation. Chondroitin and similar compounds are also exist in the bladder and lining of blood vessels. Here they help to prevent abnormal movement of blood, urine, or components across the barrier of the vessel or bladder wall.

Japanese researchers have found that chondroitin may play a role in determining the viscosity and elasticity of tissues and fluids. A recent in vitro study done by scientists in Belgium found that chondroitin had potentially beneficial effects on human cartilage cells.

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