By Jerry Pardue
The term "all organic" and chondroitin may not fit into the same categories. Most people who feed a supplement with glucosamine and chondroitin have. over time, come to know that this medication was originally an extract of shark cartilage and that was true. Over time however, with the growing use of and an increased market for that product, chondroitin is also a by-product of cow trachea, pigs ears and noses, fishes, and birds.
Let's look at the original source first. If you were to examine a detailed profile of chondroitin, there would be a measurement described as "residue from ignition" and it would show a value of 20-30%. What this measures is, if an amount of chondroitin was burned to a certain point in a laboratory, the residue would measure 20 to 30% of the original weight. What makes up this amout are those substances which could no be destroyed in the burning process which would includes mercury and lead, those substances which are in all sea creatures because of our habit of pollution and is the reason the USDA and the FDA recommends that a human not eat tuna more than once a week.
Now, the amounts are surely not a toxic level because it is just too small but it will be added to the sum total of all those other same sources and if someone is looking for an "all natural" and "all organic", ain't gonna happen.
Looking a step further into the non-shark ingredients, there are other red flags that may invade your peace of mind. Cow tracheas, pig ears, pig nose cartilage, bird(usually meaning chicken or turkey), and fish(i.e. commercially grown fish) carry a concern about how much antibiotics might be present. Here again, it is a small amount, but a small amount over a long period of time is the problem.
If you purchase a joint supplement, it will in a likelihood, include those two product as the principle active ingredients and the labeling will tell you that they are in there but will not tell you where it was derived from.
I talk with a lot of pet owners with dogs variously afflicted with degrees of hip dysplasia and the effectiveness of glucosamine and chondroitin is inconsistent and sometimes insignificant.
A more consistent and reliable treatment is using chelated trace minerals and high levels of omega fatty acids and antioxidants seems to work much better as this gives a dog an opportunity to strengthen and repair skeletal tissue instead of merely treating the symptoms. That is a much more permanent fix.