Glucosamine Benefits for Joints and Beyond
Glucosamine, especially glucosamine sulfate, is extracted from the shells of shellfish to make dietary supplements. A synthetic form is made in laboratories, also.
In this article, we explain what glucosamine is, why it is taken as a supplement, and whether there is scientific evidence to prove it is effective. We also discuss any side effects and warnings that come with glucosamine.
What is it?
Glucosamine is normally taken by mouth and comes in different forms, including:
- glucosamine sulfate
- glucosamine hydrochloride
Although similar, these variants can have different effects when used as dietary supplements.
In some dietary supplements, glucosamine may be combined with other ingredients, including chondroitin sulfate, MSM, or shark cartilage.
Chondroitin is a similar substance to glucosamine and is found naturally in joints, as well.
To date, most studies into the potential health benefits of glucosamine focus on glucosamine sulfate.
Glucosamine is vital for building cartilage. Cartilage is a flexible, tough connective tissue found in several parts of the body. This firm, rubbery tissue functions as padding at the ends of long bones where they meet joints.
As we age, cartilage can become less flexible and can steadily breakdown. There is some evidence that glucosamine might slow this process.
Some scientists believe it is the sulfur in glucosamine that is beneficial for cartilage health. Sulfur must be incorporated into cartilage to build and repair it. Naturally, glucosamine plays a role in the incorporation of sulfur into cartilage.
As people age, glucosamine levels fall. So, in time, this may play a role in joint deterioration.
The NIH list the following reasons why people use glucosamine sulfate:
- osteoarthritis (OA)
- weight loss
- interstitial cystitis, a bladder condition
- jaw pain
- joint pain, such as knee pain
- back pain
- multiple sclerosis (MS)
- HIV and AIDS
Glucosamine supplements are also used by people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and ulcerative colitis.
Does glucosamine help with osteoarthritis?
Many people take glucosamine supplements for OA, and especially OA of the hip or knee.
Some studies suggest that glucosamine may have the following effects:
- Reduce osteoarthritis-related pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints.
- Improve function in people with knee or hip osteoarthritis.
- Provide continued relief of symptoms for up to 3 months after someone stops treatment.
Some participants with moderate-to-severe pain reported significant relief, however, when they took the combination of glucosamine and chondroitin.
While this combination, or glucosamine alone, may relieve moderate to severe pain in people with osteoporosis, overall, it appears to be no more effective slowing the loss of cartilage in knee osteoarthritis.
The NIH point out that while some people use creams containing glucosamine for arthritis pain, these creams usually include other substances, such as camphor. Hence, it may be these additional substances that relieve the pain, and there is no evidence that glucosamine can be absorbed through the skin.
Our Knee & Joint Complex supplement contains the ingredient that is being stated as the topic of this blog and that is, glucosamine. Try out it now and feel the difference!