Glucosamine helps the body produce bone cartilage. It is an essential micronutrient important for maintaining strong bones. When combined with other supplements like chondroitin, glucosamine may help slow the progression of certain bone wasting diseases like osteoarthritis. Cartilage is the tissue that helps connect and cushions the space between joints.
Glucosamine And Bone Health
Scientific researchers studying glucosamine have discovered that glucosamine may be a key in treating degenerative bone diseases like osteoarthritis (OA). When bone cartilage wastes away or breaks down whether from injury or the wear and tear associated with everyday use or vigorous athletic activity, osteoarthritis may result. Typically OA is a disease of older age, but even young men and women sometimes receive a diagnosis of OA.
Glucosamine Benefits Still Debated
While some studies suggest glucosamine is beneficial for reducing the pain of OA, others suggest glucosamine may have little or no effect. Still other research suggests that regular consumption of glucosamine as part of the daily diet may actually slow down the progression of bone wasting diseases like osteoarthritis. In this respect, glucosamine acts in a much different way than traditional treatments for OA like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents. These include ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) and over-the-counter medications like naproxen.
Glucosamine Long-Term Effects
Other pain relievers commonly used to relieve the joint pain associated with arthritis and joint pain include acetaminophen or Tylenol. The long-term use of pain medications however, is dangerous.
These medications can cause side effects including:
- Stomach upset
- Stomach ulcers
- Internal bleeding
- Liver problems
Other research suggests that glucosamine works optimally to repair cartilage and halt the progression of bone disease when combined with chondroitin, a supplement that like glucosamine, helps treat OA.
Glucosamine Treatment Choices
Glucosamine is useful for treating the pain associated with bone wasting diseases like osteoarthritis. Scientific studies support the use of glucosamine for treating OA particularly in areas of the hip and/or knee. In studies supporting the use of glucosamine as a dietary supplement, patients report glucosamine:
- Reduces joint pain.
- Improves joint mobility.
- Reduces the pain and stiffness typically associated with arthritis.
- Provides long-term relief of arthritis symptoms.
Glucosamine For Inflammation
Newer studies also show that glucosamine may also be helpful for reducing overall inflammation in the body, including the inflammation associated with inflammatory bowel disease. This suggest that glucosamine may play a role in reducing colitis as well.
Since colitis may result from auto-immune factors, more research is necessary to determine whether glucosamine may have an immune modulating effect on the body.
Where To Find Glucosamine
Glucosamine is only available from dietary supplements. Glucosamine is readily available from shrimp, crabs, and other shellfish. Most supplements are sold in tablets, capsules and powdered formulas.