Nutritional Products

Grand Meadows - Nutraceuticals Explained


Glucosamine is an amino sugar and a prominent precursor for glycosaminoglycans. Glucosamine is composed of the exoskeletons of crustaceans. It is produced commercially by the hydrolysis of crustacean exoskeletons. Since glucosamine is a precursor for glycosaminoglycan’s which are a major component of joint cartilage, supplemental glucosamine may help to support the horse’s system to reduce the risk of cartilage degeneration.

Its use as a supplement appears to be safe. The generally accepted idea behind its function for joint support is that it helps to maintain the viscosity of an articular joint’s synovial fluid and by doing so provide a more effective barrier between the two strips of cartilage found in the joint. In addition it is also believed that the supplementation of glucosamine will help to maintain a healthy cartilage structure by providing nutrition to the chondrocytes that live in the cartilage matrix.

Hyaluronic Acid is an anionic, non-sulfated glycosaminoglycan distributed widely throughout connective tissues. It can be very large, with its molecular weight often reaching the millions of daltons. One of the chief components of the extracellular matrix, hyaluronic acid contributes significantly to cell proliferation. It has been widely used for many years in an injectable form delivered either by IA or IV.

The big question mark about the oral delivery of HA is based on its molecular weight and most vets and biochemists are not convinced that the HA molecule can be absorbed out of the equine stomach. At Grand Meadows we waited 2 years after the initial introduction of oral HA in equine supplements based on our concerns that there were too many questions related to its bioavailability. We finally discovered a patented product, Kolla 11, that was sourced from chicken sternum cartilage.

The manufacturing process resulted in a molecular weight that was dramatically lower than conventional HA and also contained two important additional elements Chondroitin Sulfate and Type 11 Collagen. All the elements in this product have been subjected to the same manufacturing process and thus are optimized for bioavailability.

Chondroitin Sulfate has long been considered an essential partner with glucosamine in chondroprotective products and is generally sourced from either bovine or porcine trachea. There is an overwhelming body of evidence that the traditionally sourced chondroitin has very limited bioavailability and as such is not an effective oral ingredient. The other concern, which has been proven in multiple NASC random testing programs, is that the purity of Chondroitin is hugely variable and the chances of a product matching a stated label claim are very slim.

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is an organosulfur compound which is often included in oral joint supplements. While there are a number of benefits that MSM offers where it can act as a cellular transporter helping to enhancing the delivery of nutrients through the body it is also important to understand that at higher levels it has been shown to have an action that is anti-inflammatory so in using MSM it is important to understand that you may be masking discomfort as well.