What are chondrocytes, and what role do they play in the health of your equine companion’s joints?
For decades, people, horses, dogs and cats have been taking supplements to support cartilage for aging or injured joints and to help slow down the onset of osteoarthritis. Products Like glucosamine, chondroitin, collagen and hyaluronic acid have been very widely used and are important components when it comes to strengthening and repairing healthy cartilage. Think of these nutrients hypothetically as the materials for building a house.
A factor that’s often overlooked, however, is how these components actually help new cartilage form. Without construction workers, the building materials for the house will just sit there, unused.
Chondrocytes – the missing link
Chondrocytes are the construction workers in synovial fluid that take all the nutrients and rebuild or construct the cartilage. If the number of chondrocytes is lower – due to aging, injury or surgery (i.e. two old guys with bad backs trying to build the house) – then there will be more degradation of cartilage than there will be production. The result? Joint discomfort and the eventual development of osteoarthritis.
If we can reproduce more chondrocytes (recruit some strong young workers) and tilt the balance back towards production of cartilage, then potentially we can reverse the process of arthritis and slow down degradation.
Step one: Stimulate the production of chondrocytes
Interpath Pty. Ltd., a research company from Australia discovered a plant extract that after undergoing a proprietary extraction process (trade name “Epiitalis” and Product name “4CYTE”) was able to be patented for its ability to stimulate the production of chondrocytes. Given that it’s also being patented for its effective natural anti-inflammatory properties, it’s changing the way degenerative joint disease (DJD) is being treated in horses, dogs, cats and people.
The more chondrocytes there are, the more they’re able to reproduce. If there are limited numbers of chondrocytes present, then it doesn’t matter how much glucosamine, chondroitin etc. your animal takes, there will be minimal – if any – rebuilding happening. These nutrients will just float around the synovial fluid and eventually re-enter the blood stream and end up as expensive fertilizer for the lawn.
Step two: Invest in quality joint support products
When looking for supplement to support your horse’s joints, there are some important components to consider:
- Safety of the product – make sure it does not have short or long-term side effects.
- Is there research to back up what it claims to do?
- For competition horses – does it test?
- Is it easy to administer? If you can’t get it into your animal, it definitely won’t work.
Early detection of DJD and preventative measures have the greatest impact on keeping cartilage healthy. Be sure to schedule regular appointment with your vet, offer your horse quality supplements, and take steps to ensure he has enough chondrocytes!
4CYTE products are over-the-counter veterinary products available in Canada. For more information, visit interpath.global.