All About Glucosamine

What is glucosamine? How does it work?

Glucosamine is a natural chemical found in healthy joint cartilage. WebMD explains that the human body uses it to make other chemicals involved in building ligaments, tendons, cartilage and the fluids that surround joints. People who have osteoarthritis have problems with cartilage breakdown in their joints. This causes pain and stiffness in the joint. Glucosamine supplements seem to help increase the cartilage and fluid in the joint while preventing further breakdown of these substances.

According to the Mayo Clinic, most of the research conducted on glucosamine has been on the form called glucosamine sulfate. Other types of glucosamine are glucosamine hydrochloride and N-acetyl-glucosamine. Some glucosamine supplements contain other ingredients like chondroitin, MSM or shark cartilage. Research has not found any proof that these extra ingredients make glucosamine more effective than glucosamine alone. The National Library of Medicine (NLM) advised that there are also creams for arthritis pain that contain glucosamine. There is no research showing glucosamine can be absorbed through the skin.

Why is glucosamine important?

Seniors Running Without PainGlucosamine helps keep joints healthy. The amount produced by the body decreases with age. Osteoarthritis causes the body to produce less glucosamine than is needed to keep joints healthy. Taking 500 mg supplements of glucosamine three times a day helps ease the joint pain and stiffness caused by arthritis. Supplements can also help prevent deterioration of the joints, according to data from the Mayo Clinic.

The NLM cites studies that have shown glucosamine can reduce arthritis pain in the knees about as well as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin). Glucosamine takes about four to eight weeks to relieve symptoms, while the over-the-counter medications usually give some relief within two weeks. Glucosamine works best for people with mild to moderate arthritis pain. advises that glucosamine works because it is a building block for cartilage cells. Glucosamine also helps inhibit enzymes and other chemicals that break down cartilage.

Are there natural sources to get glucosamine, such as our own bodies producing it or our diet?

There are no natural food sources for glucosamine, according to WebMD. It is present in the hard, outer shells of shellfish like shrimp, crab and lobsters. This substance, called chitin, is made into glucosamine supplements.

What kinds of people benefit from taking glucosamine? What conditions does glucosamine help?

Glucosamine has been studied as a treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee. Research shows glucosamine is beneficial for strengthening knee cartilage and joint fluids as well as helping the body make more of its own glucosamine. People with mild to moderate knee arthritis may see pain relief, improved functioning of the joint and some reduction in inflammation and stiffness of the joint. It has helped athletes with knee injuries regain flexibility in their joints, theMayo Clinic reports. Some research shows glucosamine is helpful in reducing joint pain and swelling for people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, too. Glucosamine is usually taken for a three-month trial, because it takes two to four months.

What are some signs of low levels of glucosamine, or a need to supplement it?

There are no lab tests to determine a low level of glucosamine. However, people diagnosed with osteoarthritis likely need to supplement their glucosamine levels. Factors that influence the development of arthritis include age, genetics, weight, and previous joint injuries. Most osteoarthritis develops in people over age 50 or younger people with a history of injury or abnormal joints, according to Dr. Andrew Weil.

Symptoms of arthritis include stiffness and pain in the joint and sometimes limited movement, according to theUniversity of Maryland Medical Center. Sometimes there is swelling in the joint. Other times, there are no symptoms or only very mild symptoms, but x-rays indicate significant arthritic changes in the joint. At other times, people may have severe symptoms but x-rays show only minor changes in the joint.

Life Priority Supplements with Glucosamine

Life Priority - Joint Decision
Joint DecisionTM helps to supply Glucosamine Hydrochloride (HCI), a natural compound that nourishes the connective tissue structures found in cartilage and joint fluid. Glucosamine Hydrochloride (HCI), which has the high potency of activeGlucosamine among Glucosamine forms. Glucosamine is a molecule manufactured by cells in our body from the food that we eat. It is a component that our bodies cannot survive without. All cartilage, regardless of where it is located in the body must have an adequate supply of glucosamine. Cartilage gets glucosamine from the synovial fluid that surrounds all of our joints. By taking Joint Decision, you increase the glucosamine level in the fluid around the joint which allows the cartilage to do what is designed to do: properly cushion the joint movements.

Life Priority Total Joint ComplexTotal Joint ComplexTM is the ultimate joint support with glucosamine HCL and essential co-factors. Total Joint Complex contains 6 ingredients, including glucosamine and chondroitin. This specific combination of nutrients has been prescribed by hundreds of chiropractors and health care professionals and shows encouraging evidence that they can provide support in the treatment osteoarthritis symptoms. A pharmaceutical quality-pure glucosamine HCl with chondroitin, MSM, and other co-factors that help support normal joint function. Total Joint Complex contains pharmaceutical-grade nutrients that provide nutritional support for the body.

Are there side effects, risks or interactions?

Most people tolerate normal doses of glucosamine sulfate. Side effects might include stomach upset, headache, sun sensitivity, skin reactions, insomnia or drowsiness. Rare side effects include abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea, loss of appetite, constipation, heartburn or diarrhea. Some people report temporary increases in heart rate and blood pressure, according to data from the Mayo Clinic.

The NLM cautions that glucosamine might alter blood sugar levels, so people with diabetes or hypoglycemia should consult with a doctor before starting glucosamine treatments. Careful blood glucose monitoring and medication adjustments might be needed. Glucosamine might also increase the risk of bleeding, so people with bleeding disorders or people who take blood thinners should be cautious with these supplements.

Because glucosamine is often combined with other substances, people taking heart medicines or blood pressure medications should check with their doctors before taking glucosamine. Taking glucosamine in doses above the recommended 1500 mg per day may damage pancreatic cells, which can increase the risk of developing diabetes. Glucosamine supplements may contain high levels of potassium or sodium. People on restricted diets or who take diuretics should be cautious with glucosamine supplements. There have been rare reports in Mayo Clinic data of glucosamine increasing the frequency of asthma attacks in some patients.

What kinds of people should not take glucosamine?

Glucosamine is not recommended for use by children, according to Medical News Today. People with shellfish allergies or sensitivity to iodine may have allergic reactions to glucosamine because it comes from shellfish. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should not take glucosamine, because there is no research about its safety for them.

The NLM strongly recommends that people taking Warfarin or Coumadin should not take glucosamine because it can cause severe bleeding and bruising for these people. Glucosamine also interacts with some medications for cancer, decreasing their effectiveness and increasing the speed with which tumor cells multiply. Cancer patients should avoid glucosamine.

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