Drug Levels and Effects:

Summary of Use during Lactation:

Chondroitinsulfateconsists of a mixture of large glycosaminoglycans and disaccharide polymers, usually derived from shark or bovine cartilage. It is most commonly used to treat osteoarthritis. Chondroitinsulfatehas no specific lactation-related uses. Chondroitinsulfateis poorly absorbed orally with a bioavailability of about 10%. It is well tolerated with occasional gastrointestinal upset reported. Although no studies exist on the use of chondroitinsulfatesupplements during breastfeeding, small amounts occur naturally in breastmilk where it might have an inhibitory effect on microbial binding to cellular receptors in the infant or, helping prevent infections, or acting as a antioxidant to protect the infant from oxidative stress. Mothers of preterm infants excrete greater amounts of chondroitin into breastmilk than mothers of full-term infants.[1][2] The use of chondroitin by a nursing mother is unlikely to adversely affect the breastfed infant.

Dietary supplements do not require extensive pre-marketing approval from the US Food and Drug Administration. Manufacturers are responsible to ensure the safety, but do not need to prove the safety and effectiveness of dietary supplements before they are marketed. Dietary supplements may contain multiple ingredients, and differences are often found between labeled and actual ingredients or their amounts. A manufacturer may contract with an independent organization to verify the quality of a product or its ingredients, but that does not certify the safety or effectiveness of a product. Because of the above issues, clinical testing results on one product may not be applicable to other products. More detailed informationabout dietary supplementsis available elsewhere on the LactMed Web site.

Drug Levels:

Maternal Levels.

Pooled human milk from healthy subjects was found to have an average chondroitinsulfateconcentration of 231 mg/L, representing 55.5% of all human milk glycosaminoglycans.[1]

A lactating woman with unilateral breast cancer had the breastmilk chondroitinsulfatecontent analyzed from each breast. Milk from the unaffected breast had chondroitinsulfatecontent similar to the previous study. Milk from the cancerous breast had a large increase in the chondroitinsulfatedisaccharide sulfated in position 6 of N-acetylgalactosamine.[3]

Infant Levels.

Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.

Effects in Breastfed Infants:

Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.

Possible Effects on Lactation:

Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.


1. Coppa GV, Gabrielli O, Buzzega D et al. Composition and structure elucidation of human milk glycosaminoglycans. Glycobiology. 2011;21:295-303. PMID:21030540
2. Coppa GV, Gabrielli O, Zampini L et al. Glycosaminoglycan content in term and preterm milk during the first month of lactation. Neonatology. 2011;101:74-76. PMID:21934331
3. Mannello F, Maccari F, Santinelli A, Volpi N. Chondroitinsulfatestructure is modified in human milk produced by breast affected by invasive carcinoma. Breast. 2011;20:586-7. PMID:21937233

Substance Identification:

Substance Name:


CAS Registry Number:


Drug Class:

  • Complementary Therapies

  • Glycosaminoglycans

  • Administrative Information:

    LactMed Record Number:


    Last Revision Date:

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