Glucosamine is a chemical compound that is naturally found in the cartilage of our joints. Cartilage – made up of sugar and protein chains bound together – acts as the body’s natural shock absorber. It lubricates our joints to allow smooth movement and cushions our joints to protect them when we fall.
Glucosamine is an amino sugar, possessing anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties. Glucosamine helps to maintain cartilage health. However, as you age, glucosamine levels in your body gradually decreases, leading to deterioration of the joints.
The supplement form of glucosamine is harvested from shells or shellfish. These supplements are very popular among people with bone and joint pain. Glucosamine sulfate, N-acetyl glucosamine and glucosamine hydrochloride are some of the types of glucosamine available in the market.
How does glucosamine help our body?
Our body needs glucosamine to synthesize certain proteins and fats, known as lipids. These proteins and lipids form different vital tissues, especially cartilage. Our everyday movements would be difficult if our body didn’t have any glucosamine, as it plays a vital role in the construction of our joints, ligaments and tendons. Additionally, glucosamine helps make the fluids, known as synovial fluid that surround the joints to provide lubrication. Glucosamine also plays an important part in our digestive system. It helps make connective tissue in parts of our digestive tract. The immune system cannot run properly without help from the digestive system.
How much glucosamine should you take?
The recommend daily dosage for glucosamine hasn’t been established yet. The typical dose, according to most studies, is 500 mg of glucosamine sulfate, three times per day. However, you should consult your doctor about the amount of glucosamine that is suitable for you. It is suggested that you take it with your meals to prevent an upset stomach.
What are the benefits of taking glucosamine?
Glucosamine helps treating common symptoms of age-related disorders such as arthritis and osteoarthritis. It can also help enhance gut health and digestion, mobility, and overall joint health, even in people who do not have chronic joint or bowel disorders. Experts recommend glucosamine in combination with diet and lifestyle changes as part of a natural therapy for managing arthritis.
Improves joint health and osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis across the world, affecting millions of people, especially the elderly. The condition results from breakdown of cartilage and underlying bone. The most common symptoms are stiffness and joint pain.
For reducing symptoms of osteoarthritis and supporting overall joint health, glucosamine is one of the most effective supplements out there. As we age, our joints start to lack strength and durability, causing pain and cartilage loss over time.
When used long-term, glucosamine helps to slow down joint decay, and at the same time it offers other benefits including reducing chronic inflammation and boosting digestive health, something prescription painkillers are unable to do. Some long-term users of glucosamine have reported pain relief that enabled them to stop taking medication and avoid surgeries altogether.
According to studies, taking 800-1500 mg of glucosamine daily can prevent further damage in people suffering from degenerative joint diseases, especially the joints that are commonly effected such as those in the hips and knees. Glucosamine has been shown to relieve joint pain within 4 to 8 weeks, which is lesser period of time than prescription painkillers, and it’s also more well-tolerated option.
Although glucosamine, whether used by itself or combined with chondroitin, isn’t guaranteed to help everyone, it can help many people with arthritis, according to major studies. The most comprehensive trial ever done to examine glucosamine is the Glucosamine/Chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (GAIT). The GAIT trial found that using chondroitin-glucosamine combination for 8 weeks significantly relieved pain in participants suffering from extreme joint pain.
Boosts digestion and relieves inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs)
Glucosamine has been shown to repair the lining of the gastrointestinal tract, making it an effective supplement for treating leaky gut. Leaky gut is a condition when undigested food particles and proteins such as toxins, gluten and microbes pass through small openings in the lining of the small intestine and into the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, these tiny particles trigger inflammation or worsen the body’s immune response. The condition is painful and hard to treat. Glucosamine can help repair impaired tissue and reduce inflammation related to IBD. Glucosamine supplement may also help restore the lining of the stomach, intestines and the bladder.
A 200 study concluded that glucosamine is an effective, nontoxic and inexpensive supplement for treating chronic inflammatory bowel diseases, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Children affected by IBD tend to have lower glucosamine levels in the body.
Helps ease bone pain
People with a history of fracture, low bone density and bone pain may benefit from taking glucosamine. A 2013 rat model study from Turkey found that glucosamine helped accelerate the time it took the rodents to heal from bone fractures. The researchers discovered that osteoblast lining and new bone formation were remarkably higher in rats that were treated with glucosamine compared with the rats in control group. After the rats received 230 mg of glucosamine sulfate daily for 4 weeks, their connective tissue around bones became more vascular and cellular, and the previously fractured bones became more stronger compared to the control rats.
Are there risks of taking glucosamine?
Glucosamine is a fairly safe supplement. However, high doses may produce side effects which are generally mild. Side effects may include:
- Upset stomach
If you’re allergic to shellfish, be careful about taking glucosamine as it may cause side effect. If you have kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or bleeding disorders, you should consult your doctor before taking glucosamine.
Can glucosamine be found in natural foods?
Glucosamine is present in bone broths. Glucosamine supplements are manufactured from the shells of shellfish, and natural food sources do not contain glucosamine.
Many Americans lack enough glucosamine in their bodies; glucosamine supplements may be helpful for them. Studies have shown that consuming glucosamine through bone broth or supplements could help relieve symptoms of arthritis and osteoarthritis. Glucosamine supplements also work wonders for healing leaky gut and decrease symptoms of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
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