What are the benefits of glucosamine and chondroitin?

glucosamine for horses
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

Lydia F. Gray, DVM MA, currently serves as the Medical Director/Staff Veterinarian for SmartPak Equine. 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 locations. 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 and enjoys training and showing her trakehner Newman in her spare time.  Find Dr. Gray on Google+

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