Chondroitin sulphate has been claimed to help relieve joint pain and conditions such as osteoarthritis, with a review by the Cochrane Collaboration last year confirming its efficacy.
But its animal-derived nature has caused its safety and purity to be questioned.
Italian firm Gnosis is now launching Mythocondro, which it first announced in 2013, at October’s Supply Side West conference in Las Vegas.
The company uses a fermentation process to produce its CS product, which it says makes the product consistent.
“Mythocondro warrants high purity, clear identity profile, batch-to-batch reproducibility, established safety with an astounding very low content of proteins and other (macro)molecules, as well as biological activity,” said a Gnosis press release.
“Mythocondro promises to change completely the CS industry providing a reliable and reproducible source of product. Furthermore it is the first chondroitin sulphate suitable for vegetarians and free from restrictions of use related to religious and supply issues,” the release added.
NutraIngredients asked Gnosis to comment for this article, but the company declined, directing us to its press release.
Along with its patent-backed production process, Gnosis’s main claim for Mythocondro is the absence of any adulteration and other issues that it claims are serious issues for animal-derived CS.
“The industrial production of CS uses animal tissue sources as raw material, derived from different species of animals. Actually it generally relies on bovine, porcine, chicken or cartilaginous fish such as sharks and skate by-products, in particular cartilage, as raw material. More important, a mix of all these sources are possible producing a CS final product having mixed characteristics and not well identified activities,” said Gnosis in its press release.
Jonathan Shorts, CEO of Gee Lawson, another producer of CS products, was more circumspect about the issues with animal-derived CS, saying it “depends who you go to and who you work with”.
“China and other such countries have a history of adulteration. I think it’s got better, in terms of the product being better – the adulteration and the origin is far better known, and can be analysed. So while yes, I agree with their comments, the chondroitin market has certainly got better,” said Shorts.
“If you want consistency time after time, at a certain level, with known product, there are some manufacturers that can provide that. However, there is always going to be a number of consumers who don’t want animal-derived product,” he added.
Not up to animal CS yet?
Shorts said Mythocondro was “very exciting” if it proved to be commercial, but said fermentation-derived CS may not be at the same level as animal-derived chondroitin at the moment.
“I think what’s key with the Gnosis product is undoubtedly the consistency, that they will be able to reproduce product time and time and time again,” he said.
He also said there was a lot of potential for fermentation-derived products in general.
“If there wasn’t, companies such as Gnosis wouldn’t be around, and they’re an incredibly successful company. There will always be room for innovative, niche products – let’s face it, glucosamine was looked at as a very innovative, niche, misunderstood or not understood product when it first came on the market. Now look at it.
“Chondroitin is known – will it go mainstream? That’s really down to the brands. Will they pay for the privilege of knowing exactly where their product comes from, or will they continue to just use science as they were using it,” added Shorts.
“As a company, we’re always looking for innovative products, and they can come from a whole host of places,” he said.