The joints within your body are vital, enabling you to undertake daily routines. The joints are important connection points, allowing different parts of your body to work harmoniously, after receiving signals from your brain. Due to diseases, infections and other factors, your joints can be affected, to a point that body part coordination becomes a problem. Both glucosamine and chondroitin molecules naturally found within your joint cartilage ensure that everything is well. The cartilage within your joints does a lot of work and goes through breakdown and repair processes. To be able to undergo effective repair and become strong, it has to be strengthened, and this is where glucosamine and chondroitin supplements come in.
While glucosamine that occurs naturally in your joint cartilage is made from glucose and glutamine, glucosamine supplements contain glucosamine naturally find in shellfish, animal bones and bone marrow. It is also obtained from some fungi. Glucosamine can also be artificially produced in laboratories from chitin obtained from sea creatures including lobster, shrimp and crab. Glucosamine happens to b very important in your joints, aiding in the formation and repair of not only your joint cartilage but other body tissues as well. Note that the natural production of glucosamine within your body slows down as you age. Glucosamine supplements available do not only contain artificial glucosamine, they also contain other vital ingredients. A combination of glucosamine and msn (methylsulfonylmethane) are common.
Various studies have been conducted on glucosamine to determine its benefits. Although the studies have produced mixed results, that sponsored by Rottapharm, a European drug manufacturing company reported glucosamine benefits. Multiple clinical trials conducted in the 1980s and 90s indeed showed improvements in trial participants. Although studies conducted by the USA National Institute of Health (GAIT) in the past showed no meaningful improvement on trial participants, those put on glucosamine sulfate showed reasonable improvements. Currently, the OsteoArthritis Research Society International recommends glucosamine as one of the effective treatments for arthritis.
Available as nutritional supplements, glucosamine supplements are readily available in health food stores, including online health stores. The nutritional supplements have been found to have the following health benefits:
- In the treatment of knee osteoarthritis – As you age, the rubber material that cushions your knee joint (cartilage) becomes stiff and loses its elasticity. This can lead to swelling and painful knee. By using glucosamine and chondroitin supplements, you not only relieve the pain but also enable the cartilage to build up and become strong again.
- Prevention of osteoarthritis – By taking glucosamine supplements, you help your joint cartilages to repair themselves, thereby preventing osteoarthritis.
- In treating Crohn’s disease – This is a health condition in which your bowels inflame (inflammatory bowel disease. Glucosamine supplements have been found to eliminate such inflammation and the associated pain. Some arthritis creams feature glucosamine as one of the ingredients.
- In treating mandible arthritis – Although not common, some people are susceptible to mandible arthritis, where you experience jaw pain while chewing, yawning or talking. Research indicates that using glucosamine and chondroitin supplements not only eliminates the condition but also relieves pain.
Although glucosamine supplements are available in different dosages, the appropriate maximum dosage for adults is 1,500 mg in any given day. Glucosamine use by children is not appropriate because glucosamine effects on children have not been ascertained. Like other medications and supplements, you are likely to experience glucosamine side effects, which include nausea, heartburn, diarrhea and constipation. Glucosamine side effects are however mild and disappear within minutes.
You may need to take necessary precautions before taking glucosamine and chondroitin supplements. It is necessary to start with a small dosage to test for any allergic reaction, especially if it is your first time to use the supplement. You need to avoid taking glucosamine in case you are pregnant or breastfeeding because safety in the same has not been established. Being a substance, glucosamine may react with other medications such as diabetic medications.