"Healthy as a horse" implies that horses have a good resistance to many diseases.
But being athletic in nature they are often trained for long hours and made to run long distances. Such activity schedules and accidents can lead to joint inflammation and degeneration of cartilage, a condition termed as osteoarthritis. Cartilage can be broken down to an extent where bones rub each other causing severe pain.
Research shows that Drugs (which include some herbs) may reduce pain very quickly and effectively. However for a body to use the building blocks provided through good nutrition to rebuild tissues, it usually takes 4-8 weeks for enough new fluid and tissue to be present for the pain to stop. When a joint hurts, the natural response is for the other joints to do more of the work and let the painful joint rest.
If a damaged joint is not rested, it will certainly get worse. In addition to not having the joint work as hard, the immune system supplies it with more blood than usual. This extra blood feeds the joint more nutrients so that it can repair faster. This natural healing process causes inflammation and swelling.
A study was conducted in 1997 on degenerative joint disease in horses with cartilage breakdown of the hock, fetlock, pastern and cannon bone. They were administered glucosamine suplhate and chondroitin sulphate for six weeks. The researchers claimed a significant improvement in the horses within the first two weeks.
WHAT IS GLUCOSAMINE?
Glucosamine is a natural substance produced by the body to help build and repair cartilage. As cartilage wears down over time it is necessary for the body to constantly rebuild it and for this it needs glucosamine. Sometimes the body isn't able to produce the glucosamine it needs and this is when supplementation is required.
Glucosamine is one of the most abundant monosaccharides. It is produced commercially by the hydrolysis of crustacean exoskeletons or, less commonly by fermentation of a grain such as corn or wheat. In an effort to preserve the world's shrinking marine resources, vegetarian derived Glucosamine is currently being used in the USA with good results reported.
WHAT IS CHONDROITIN SULPHATE
Chondroitin sulphate is a sulfated glycosaminoglycan (GAG) composed of a chain of alternating sugars (N-acetylgalactosamine and glucuronic acid). It is usually found attached to proteins as part of a proteoglycan. A chondroitin chain can have over 100 individual sugars, each of which can be sulfated in variable positions and quantities. Understanding the functions of such diversity in chondroitin sulphate and related glycosaminoglycans is a major goal of glycobiology. Chondroitin sulphate is an important structural component of cartilage and provides much of its resistance to compression. Along with glucosamine, chondroitin sulphate has become a widely used dietary supplement for treatment of osteoarthritis.
Chondroitin is an ingredient found commonly in dietary supplements used as an alternative medicine to treat osteoarthritis and also approved and regulated as a symptomatic slow-acting drug for this disease (SYSADOA) in Europe and some other countries. It is commonly sold together with glucosamine.
Chondroitin sulphate readily interacts with proteins in the extracellular matrix due to its negative charges. These interactions are important for regulating a diverse array of cellular activities. The lecticans are a major part of the brain extracellular matix, where the chondroitin sugar chains function to stabilize normal brain synapses as part of perineuronal nets. The levels of chondroitin sulphate proteoglycans are vastly increased after injury to the central nervous system where they act to prevent regeneration of damaged nerve endings.
WHAT IS MSM (METHYLSULFONYLMETHANE)
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), is an organosulfur compound with the formula (CH3)2SO2. It is also known by several other names: DMSO2, MSM, methylsulfonylmethane and methyl sulfone. This colourless solid features the sulfone functional group and is considered relatively inert chemically. It occurs naturally in some primitive plants and is present in small amounts in many foods and beverages and it is marketed as a dietary supplement, although its benefits are disputed.
MSM is promoted as a natural source of sulfur by the supplement and health food industry. For people, protein in the diet is an abundant source of sulfur, which is contained in the amino acids methionine and cysteine. MSM is sold as a dietary supplement and is commonly used (often in combination with glucosamine and/or chondroitin) for helping to treat osteoarthritis.