Chondroitin and melanoma: How worried should you be?


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Chondroitin sulfate is among the many hottest dietary supplements on this planet. It’s typically taken together with glucosamine for joint illness — some take it for prevention, others to deal with ache.

And but, proof that it really works in any respect is proscribed at finest. One assessment of the proof advised that of the few research of chondroitin that have been optimistic, almost all have been funded by makers of the complement. Regardless of this, hundreds of thousands of individuals take it, a lot of my sufferers swear by it, and the dearth of proof doesn’t appear to be a lot of a priority to them. A frequent remark I hear is: “Properly, I’m unsure if it’s doing a lot however it will possibly’t harm, proper?” A brand new examine means that possibly it will possibly.

Can chondroitin enhance melanoma danger?

Researchers publishing within the medical journal Molecular Cell are elevating considerations that chondroitin sulfate could encourage the event or recurrence of melanoma, a probably lethal type of pores and skin most cancers. Right here’s what they discovered:

  • The expansion of human melanoma cells with a selected mutation (known as V600E) that had been grafted onto the pores and skin of mice was promoted when the mice consumed chondroitin sulfate. About half of human melanomas comprise this mutation.
  • Amongst mice fed chondroitin sulfate, these melanoma tumors have been extra immune to an antitumor drug, vemurafenib, than these with out the mutation.

Though this analysis didn’t really examine folks with melanoma, the examine authors speculate that for folks with precancerous pores and skin growths containing the V600E mutation, taking chondroitin is perhaps a foul thought as a result of it may pace up tumor development. And if an individual had melanoma prior to now, taking chondroitin would possibly make recurrence extra probably.

The analysis linking chondroitin and melanoma is preliminary

It’s necessary to level out that that is preliminary analysis. Though the tumor cells studied got here from people, a hyperlink between chondroitin sulfate use and melanoma in people has not but been established. It’s doable that these outcomes aren’t related to precise folks — for instance, the doses or metabolism of chondroitin sulfate could also be so completely different in people (vs. mice) that these outcomes don’t apply to people. It isn’t uncommon that research in animals don’t translate on to folks.

Why does this matter?

Melanoma isn’t the commonest kind of pores and skin most cancers, however in contrast to many different pores and skin cancers (akin to basal cell cancers), merely eradicating the most cancers doesn’t at all times treatment it. It may possibly unfold shortly even years after obvious “treatment.” Estimates are that greater than 90,000 folks study they’ve melanoma annually, and greater than 9,000 folks die of the illness yearly.

Right here’s my take: this analysis is kind of preliminary, and would possibly end up to have little relevance to human illness. But when chondroitin sulfate could promote melanoma development — and it’s not clear that this complement is especially useful anyway — I’d advise in opposition to its use, no less than till we all know extra.

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