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 Individual Dietary Supplements: Accessory Nutrients - A Few Others 

Chondroitin Sulfates—
Mucopolysaccharides and Glycosaminoglycans

There are substances present in the cartilaginous tissue between joints and concentrated in the artery walls. They are not essential nutritionally in that our body makes them. The commercially available mucopolysaccharide products are high in silicon, a mineral important to tissue strength and health. Mussels and oysters contain these chondroitin sulfates. A supplement extracted from green-lipped mussels, Perna canaliculus, is high in mucopolysaccharides and is currently available. It is theorized that taking oral chondroitin sulfates or products containing other mucopolysaccharides will help alleviate joint problems or rebuild degenerating cartilage. They may further help in maintaining strength and elasticity of the artery walls and in reducing potential inflammation and blood clotting time—all of which may help reduce cardiovascular disease potential. Mucopolysaccharides and collagen help hold our tissues together. Chondroitin sulfates may be an antiaging nutrient as well as support or increase production of seminal fluid in men, and may have mild aphrodisiac effects. These chondroitin sulfate/mucopolysaccharide products have been used in the treatment of various conditions, including headaches, arthritis, bursitis, ulcers, respiratory diseases, angina, and allergies. There is no hard evidence to date that these claims, often commercial, are accurate or that there is great therapeutic success in using the oral supplements (they may break down in the digestive tract), although bovine cartilage injections have been helpful in the treatment of arthritis and psoriasis. More research is needed to verify the potential for these very interesting molecules that are used in our body tissue.

Germanium is a trace mineral that has recently come to the attention of the health world through some incredible work and results at a clinic in Japan. Germanium occurs naturally in very small amounts in the soil and in certain foods and herbs, such as shiitake mushrooms, ginseng root, garlic, shelf fungus, and aloe vera. It has been used for its semiconductor properties in making computer chips. Its possible medical value was discovered in the 1950s by Kazuhiko Asai when he noticed that fairly high amounts of germanium were present in coal, peat, and some of the more powerful and useful Oriental healing herbs. In 1967, Dr. Asai and his associates isolated an organo-germanium compound soluble in water and labeled it Ge-132 (bis-carboxyethyl germanium sesquioxide, the 132nd form they had synthesized). In 1968, Dr. Asai founded the Asai Germanium Research Institute to study the clinical application of Ge-132 further. Over the next 15 years, Dr. Asai and coresearchers found that germanium was essentially nontoxic and had an incredible effect on many pathological conditions, particularly in suppressing tumor activity in tumor-bearing animals. In 1980, Dr. Asai published a book very optimistically called Miracle Cure: Organic Germanium.

(Excerpted from Staying Healthy with Nutrition ISBN: 1587611791)
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 About The Author
Elson Haas MDElson M. Haas, MD is founder & Director of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin (since 1984), an Integrated Health Care Facility in San Rafael, CA and author of many books on Health and Nutrition, including ...more
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