Dr. Luke Bucci

Dr. Luke Bucci

Dr. Luke Bucci with Greg Pryor(Photo at left, Greg Pryor and Luke Bucci, Ph.D. and author of "Pain Free - The Definitive Guide to Healing Arthritis, Low Back Pain, and Sports Injuries through Nutrition and Supplements.")

Dear Health Conscious Consumer:

In 1996, I became aware of glucosamine HCl while I was on a business trip to Las Vegas. I was attending the National Nutritional Foods (NNFA) convention to learn about new products in the industry. I met a friendly gentleman and he offered that, “someday glucosamine HCl will be used by millions of sufferers of joint pain and osteoarthritis.” Although I was skeptical of its value, I put it to the test right away. I had been suffering from joint inflammation in the middle finger of my right hand for over 4 months. When the pain got bad enough to affect my golf swing, I began using it seriously. Within 3 weeks, I knew that it was working and now I am pain free. Hopefully, this article will help you toward a joint pain free life and most importantly, to prevent future joint pain.

The new understanding of osteoarthritis has come from a new appreciation of cartilage, the site in the body where osteoarthritis occurs. Once regarded as simple and inert, cartilage turns out to be a dynamic tissue seething with metabolic activity, with cartilage synthesis and destruction occurring simultaneously. Healthy cartilage is a stable tissue because the rate the body makes it is equal to the rate at which it’s broken down. But in osteoarthritis the balance shifts: While cartilage-destroying enzymes are preceding full speed ahead, the body doesn’t produce cartilage fast enough to keep up – a slowdown that may be due to aging. If this one-sided battle continues, cartilage will eventually erode away. But fortunately, this is the point where the use of glucosamine HCl can make a big difference. Glucosamine HCl speeds up the manufacture of new cartilage while at the same time suppressing cartilage destruction. It amounts to nothing less than intervening to halt a disease and helping the body to heal itself. Let us go back in history and find out where glucosamine has been up to this point.

Glucosamine HCl was discovered over 100 years ago but little interest was focused on this aminosacharride until 1956. Roden from demonstrated that the addition of glucosamine HCl into the tissue culture of cartilage produced an increase in chondroitin sulfate, the key cement or matrix of cartilage. It was not long before European researchers carried out extensive animal, open and double-blind studies establishing glucosamine HCl as a proven substance to treat osteoarthritis.

Glucosamine, produced naturally by our bodies, is a modified sugar molecule made up of glucose and an amino acid called glutamine. Regarding the use of chondroitin sulfate, I personally do not offer it in my company for several reasons. Since the use of enough glucosamine HCl should help the body make chondroitin sulfate naturally, I do not feel that the high cost of chondroitin sulfate (4-5 times the cost of glucosamine HCl) is worth the value. The size of the chondroitin molecule is much larger than glucosamine HCl therefore a high absorption rate is doubtful. Lastly, much of the glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate in the marketplace is made in China under less than strict manufacturing guidelines. Most drug stores and health food stores do no know the country of origin of their glucosamine products.

There is only one cGMP manufacturer of glucosamine HCl in the United States. Life Priority uses this manufacturer for its glucosamine HCl since they have been making glucosamine HCl for over 40 years. They operate their manufacturing facility according to FDA guidelines.

Even if the cause of osteoarthritis (OA) is vague, most OA sufferers ask similar questions: Is it too late to repair the damage? Will my cartilage become slick and slippery again? Is it possible to repair cartilage from an old football injury? Would fixing my cartilage eliminate the pain, inflammation, and bony overgrowth? And would OA leave my body? I believe that the answer to all of these questions is a resounding yes! It is possible to stop the destruction of cartilage in osteoarthritis, to repair some of the lost cartilage, and to improve joint function. We can restore health and balance to the cartilage matrix without waiting for complex new surgeries or new substances to be perfected.

In the United States , glucosamine supplements are available as non-prescription items in 4 forms: hydrochloride, hydro iodide, n-acetyl, and sulfate. Of the two most common forms found in the marketplace, HCl and sulfate, glucosamine HCl is arguable the preferred form. It has a higher concentration of glucosamine, better stability, better chance for an ambiguous label claim, and it is sodium free.

Many patients with OA respond to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) within one or two days. Glucosamine HCl usually takes four to six weeks to become effective, due to its stimulation of repair mechanisms. Standard dosages begin at 500mg of glucosamine HCl three times per day for six weeks. If at the end of this period of time no significant improvement has occurred, the dosage can be increased. There has not been one serious side effect reported with glucosamine HCl. It has no reactions with other analgesics or medications. As always, I recommend that you consult with your physician before beginning to use glucosamine HCl. If this information about glucosamine HCl is so good, why don’t doctors use glucosamine HCl in their practices? The reasons range from medical conservatism, consumer attitudes, and commercial marketing. Most physicians are taught that drugs and surgery are the “best” ways to treat their patients. Many physicians receive no nutritional/dietary training at all. That’s why so many doctors turn their noses up at the mention of glucosamine – they are not interested because they don’t know any better.

Nutritional supplements have traditionally been marketed by smaller companies who do not have the large advertising budgets that the drug companies do, i.e., Celebrex and Vioxx to name a couple of new ones.

The change is beginning. I predict that in the near future physicians across the country will be prescribing glucosamine HCl for many of their osteoarthritis patients on a regular basis.

To Your Health!
Greg Pryor
President of Life Priority, Inc.
Member of Major League Baseball/MLB Alumni 1976 to Current