Benefits of Glucosamine
The body needs glucosamine because over time connective tissue associated with healthy cartilage degenerates. Vigorous athletic activities, arthritis, disease and injuries, accidents, overuse, aging, and ordinary life processes cause cartilage to break down over time. Ordinarily the body produces lubrication, cartilage and other substances naturally. However as the body ages, it is incapable of keeping up with the demand for substances like glucosamine to repair and restore injured and worn joint tissues.
How Joints Deteriorate
A decrease in production of fluids that cushion the joints can result in damage. As people age their bodies are less able to produce the fluid between the joints (synovial fluids) leading to degeneration as bone rubs on bone. Sometimes this process is the result of chronic disease, as is the case in auto-immune diseases. Researchers studying this phenomenon proposed supplementation with naturally occurring glucosamine to correct this problem.
Natural Sources of Glucosamine
There are many natural sources of glucosamine, the most common of which is shellfish. Consuming oral glucosamine can help stimulate the production of new cartilage and connective tissue. This can benefit the body by reducing inflammation, stimulating the production of new tissue growth and reducing the pain associated with degenerative disc disease and degenerative joint diseases.
Traditional Treatment Approaches
Traditional treatments for joint pain associated with chronic joint disease included taking anti-inflammatory medications. These include Celebrex an ibuprofen. These medication can damage the stomach lining and liver when taken for months or years. Most patients experiencing joint pain require long-term solutions.
Glucosamine can be taken for several months or years without long-term side effects. Most researchers recommend a daily dose of up to 1,500 mg each day. Some individuals taking this amount may experience mild nausea or intestinal discomfort. Their daily dose may be lowered to accommodate this.
There are a few instances where people taking glucosamine have reported glucose imbalances. Individuals with side effects or diabetes should report to their healthcare provider for a full checkup to ensure the safety of supplementation before using glucosamine or any health supplement.
Glucosamine Benefits Controversy
Some government research suggests there is little benefit to taking glucosamine supplements. Some studies suggest supplementation with glucosamine HCL may or may not benefit OA sufferers. At best research yields mixed results. By far the majority of research yielding positive results supports the use of glucosamine sulfate, especially for the use of knee pain and for combatting back pain.
Many consumers however, swear by glucosamine. Even more report that glucosamine supplementation continues to reduce pain and swelling for up to six months following suspension of supplementation. For this reason along glucosamine may be worth examining.
Clinical Inter Aging. Glucosamine hydrochloride for the treatment of osteoarthritis symptoms. US
National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. NCBI. 2007 Dec. 2(4): 599-604. Available: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2686334/