Chondroitin sulfate is found in many arthritis supplements and can be purchased by itself as well. In this review I want to discuss research which appears to hint to a connection between chondroitin sulfate and prostate cancer. This is a topic that a lot of people will feel is controversial. I agree. It is. But, because chondroitin is found in so many arthritis supplements I think people need to know this. What you are reading now is actually a follow up to my review on glucosamine so see that review also.
Chondroitin Sulfate And Prostate Cancer
Much of the research on this issue stems from a study published in 1999, titled Elevated levels of peritumoral chondroitin sulfate are predictive of poor prognosis in patients treated by radical prostatectomy for early-stage prostate cancer, was published in the journal, Cancer Research.
This investigation noted men with prostate cancer had higher levels of chondroitin sulfate in their prostates than men who don't have the prostate cancer. That doesn't exactly prove chondroitin causes prostate cancer. Rather, it only seems to show they may be related somehow.
In 2008 another investigation titled Immunohistochemical Level of Unsulfated Chondroitin Disaccharides in the Cancer Stroma Is an Independent Predictor of Prostate Cancer Relapse, also found men with prostate cancer had higher levels of chondroitin sulfate in their prostates.
Prior to this, in 2003, researchers published a study noting a component of chondroitin sulfate called versican made it easier for cancer cells to gain entrance to the prostate.
Research Showing No Association
The research associating prostate cancer to chondrotin is not perfect. For example, no connection was seen by researchers in 2011 who surveyed 35,239 men aged 50-76.
Chondroitin Supplements And Prostate Cancer
The studies are interesting but the big question is do chondroitin sulfate supplements cause prostate cancer? Is that really a side effect of these supplements? For the moment I don't think anyone can say yes or no.
Right now, some research only hints that elevations in chrondroitin sulfate may have a connection to prostate cancer. Remember, chrondroitin sulfate is made naturally in the body.
So far no study has proven chrondroitin sulfate supplements cause prostate cancer. To be fair, no study has specifically tried to test if this was true either. In other words, nobody has randomly given 1000 men chondritin supplements -or placebo – and followed them for 10 years to see what happens.
To be honest, I'm disappointment in the dietary supplement industry for not addressing this better. They have known about this possible side effect for many years. Nobody has tried to see if it was true or not.
Whats Better Chondritin or Glucosamine
When it comes to helping arthritis pain, I feel the evidence is better for glucosamine sulfate. Yes, there is some research on the glucosamine + chondroitin but overall, I feel the proof for glucosamine sulfate is better.
For more insights see these other reviews too:
Based on the mixed results from research, I prefer for now to to err on the side of caution and suggest men not use chrondritin sulfate supplements or any supplement which contains this ingredient. I feel this is especially warranted in any man who:
- Has a personal or family history of prostate cancer
- Has had prostate cancer in the past
Let me be clear. I don't have any concrete proof that chondroitin sulfate causes prostate cancer. Nobody does right now. Because this is a controversial topic, some will dismiss these words and will will say stuff like:
- It's natural so it has to be safe
- Your body makes it anyway so it won't hurt you
- Nobody has ever proved it causes prostate cancer
My reply to these people is: why take the chance? Sure, nobody has clinical proof chondroitin supplements causes prostate cancer – but nobody has any good proof it doesn't either.
Right now, all anyone can say is some research suggests there may be a link between chondroitin sulfate and prostate cancer.
I admit, I am conservative when it comes to supplements. I like to know the facts and both sides of a story. But, because prostate cancer kills about as many men as breast cancer kills women, this is something for men to think about.
If you are a man reading this, my hope is you talk to your primary doctor or urologist or cancer doctor about the latest research rather than listen to me – or any other so-called expert on the web.
If that's what comes from this, then I've achieved my goal – and that's the important thing.