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Joint relief: Glucosamine, Chondroitin, and Shark Cartilage facts

Joint Pain

Joint Pain

If you ar reading this you likely are one of over 40 million Americans that suffer from some sort of arthritis. Despite over $300 million in annual research grants made by the U.S. Government’s National Institute of Health plus the private Arthritis Foundation, we are no closer to finding a treatment or cure for arthritis than we were in 1948, when the Arthritis Foundation was founded.  You probably are also are tired of slowly destroying your liver and kidneys taking the only things that seem to give you any relief — prescription pain pills and over-the-counter medications such as tylenol  or aspirin.

Out of frustration, desperation, and the need to preserve what is left of your kidneys, you moved on to the alternative natural remedies.  Today’s post will provide a little more insight into these alternatives.

Shark Cartilage has been around in one form or another since 1992, when Dr. Lane published his book Sharks Don’t Get Cancer. Unfortunately, as Seagate determined using independent labs 20 years ago, 80% of the shark cartilage that has been for sale in this country has been adulterated with fillers, including Lane Lab’s own brand Benefin. Even if shark cartilage had a legitimate chance of helping you with your joint “issues”, the manufacturers never allowed you the opportunity to find out since what the consumers were buying in bottles labeled Shark Cartilage  … was filler. Seagate, by the way, never added any filler into this or any other Seagate product. Seagate Shark Cartilage remains after 22 years a high quality 100% pure freeze-dried product.

In the mid-1990’s, the adulteration of shark cartilage opened the door to a new competitor, chondroitin sulfate. The irony is that shark cartilage is chondroitin sulfate. Most connective tissues from animals including chickens, pigs and even cow cartilage are a source of chondroitin sulfate.  Chondroitin is extracted by hydrolyzing (a fancy term that means disgesting) the cartilage. The most simplest way is to hydrolyze it is by allowing your stomach enzymes in the presence of (body) heat, acid and water, to break apart the cartilage into its chondroitin component.

However, with the expansion of the demand for chondroitin sulfate in the late 1990’s, the U.S. health food industry needed a large source of chondoitin.  Enter our friends from China.  They have a huge excess of pig skins from processing their staple food, pork.  The industrial process of extracting chondroitin sulfate from connective tisue is rather nasty.  The pig skins are dropped in big vats of water and acid and boiled. This hydrolyzes, or breaks down, the connective tissue and releases the chondroitin.

Industrial tanks for hydrolysis of connective tissue

Industrial tanks for hydrolysis of connective tissue

The acid solution must then neutralized. Typically in China and anywhere else producing chondroitin, the PH is elevated back to neutral by using sodium hydroxide, which is also known as lye or under the trade name – Drano.

Seagate experimented in the mid 1990’s with this process and was able to convert the shark cartilage into chondroitin sulfate. However, we discovered that boiling shark cartilage’s protein in an acid bath destroyed most of it.  The use of acid and Drano made this a very dangerous process. It was also impossible to remove all the process chemicals from the finished product, a very common problem when you use chemicals to process — not all of them can be removed.  Seagate decided to just allow your body to naturally digest the shark cartilage under less extreme conditions, without an industrial chemicals. After all, we were in the natural foods industry. We also are not China.

The third choice used as an alternative for joints is Glucosamine Sulfate. It is a building block of sea shells and the exoskeletons of crustaceans (ie. lobsters, shrimp, crabs, crayfish, barnacles). The process to extract the glucosamine is the same as chondroitin — you hydrolyze it. No need to say more.

These three products have been the post popular as alternatives for helping with these various joint issues. The point of this blog is to just let you know where they come from and how they were processed.

SeaRod coral with algae growths

SeaRod coral with algae growths

This colorful piece of coral was found off the coast of Egypt. It is still so amazing that Nature is using such a remarkable paint brush to leave colors under the water that very few people will ever see.

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