The key difference between hyaluronic acid and chondroitin sulfate is that hyaluronic acid is comparatively less effective, whereas chondroitin sulfate is more effective as a drug.
What is Hyaluronic Acid?
Hyaluronic acid is a polymeric organic molecule with the chemical formula (C14H21NO11)n. This compound is categorized under glycosaminoglycan compounds. However, hyaluronic acid is unique because it is the only non-sulfated glycosaminoglycan among them. This compound naturally occurs in the human body. It can undergo distribution throughout connective, epithelial, and neural tissues.
Unlike other glycosaminoglycan compounds that form in the Golgi apparatus, this compound is formed in the plasma membrane. When considering hyaluronic acid’s application in the cosmetic industry, it is a common ingredient in many skin care products. Moreover, it is useful as a dermal filler in cosmetic surgeries. Manufacturers produce hyaluronic acid mainly via microbial fermentation processes. This is because of the lower production cost and less environmental pollution. The major microorganism used for this is Streptococcus sp. However, there is a great concern about this process since these microbial species are pathogenic.
According to some research studies, the injection of hyaluronic acid into osteoarthritic joints can restore the viscoelasticity of the synovial fluid, augment the flow of joint fluid, and normalize endogenous hyaluronate synthesis, etc.
What is Chondroitin Sulfate?
Chondroitin sulfate is a sulfated glycosaminoglycan compound consisting of a chain of alternating sugars. These sugars include N-acetylgalactosamine and glucuronic acid. Usually, we can find this compound attached to proteins as a component of a proteoglycan.
Typically, a chain of chondroitin can have about 100 individual sugars. Each of these sugars is capable of being sulfated in different positions and in different quantities. Moreover, chondroitin sulfate can be described as an important structural component of cartilage. It provides high resistance to compression. Therefore, along with glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate has become an important component in dietary supplements to treat osteoarthritis.
In addition, it is approved as a symptomatic slow-acting drug for the SYSADOA disease in Europe and some other countries. Commonly, this substance is sold together with glucosamine. However, it should not be used in treating people having symptomatic osteoarthritis of the knee. This is because there is some evidence proving that it fails to treat this condition.
What is the Difference Between Hyaluronic Acid and Chondroitin Sulfate?
Hyaluronic acid and chondroitin sulfate are important types of medications. The key difference between hyaluronic acid and chondroitin sulfate is that hyaluronic acid is comparatively less effective, whereas chondroitin sulfate is more effective as a drug. Hyaluronic acid restores the viscoelasticity of the synovial fluid, augments the flow of joint fluid, normalizes endogenous hyaluronate synthesis, inhibits hyaluronate degradation, reduces joint pain, and improves joint function, whereas chondroitin sulfate helps to treat osteoarthritis and cataracts.
The below infographic presents the differences between hyaluronic acid and chondroitin sulfate in tabular form for side-by-side comparison.
Summary – Hyaluronic Acid vs Chondroitin Sulfate
Hyaluronic acid is a polymeric organic molecule with the chemical formula (C14H21NO11)n. Chondroitin sulfate is a sulfated glycosaminoglycan compound consisting of a chain of alternating sugars. The key difference between hyaluronic acid and chondroitin sulfate is that hyaluronic acid is comparatively less effective, whereas chondroitin sulfate is more effective as a drug.
1. “Chondroitin Sulfate.” An Overview | ScienceDirect Topics.
1. “Chondroitin Sulfate Structure NTP” – The original uploader was Prithason at English Wikipedia.(Original text: National Toxicology Program) – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons.(Original text: ntp.niehs.nih.gov) (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia