Glucosamine is an important substance that’s found in people’s cartilage, which itself is tough tissue used to cushion your joints. This is important for your day-to-day movements and helps to prevent joint pain and injuries. It’s available in dietary supplements that are made from sources like shellfish’s shells.
You can find different types of this substance on the market. You can pick the type that best meets your dietary needs. For example, one type is often used to treat a certain kind of arthritis that can cause symptoms like pain and inflammation. This, in turn, can make you more comfortable and improve your quality of life.
The big question is whether glucosamine supplements are effective or not. It really depends on who you talk to. Some research seems to show that the substance can be used to treat different kinds of arthritis that affect a person’s joints or bones.
However, the results from such studies are mixed so it’s not 100% clear whether or not this substance can certainly help to treat conditions like arthritis. It’s considered to be generally safe but might cause some minor side-effects. Nearly half of all adults with heart disease and diabetes also have arthritis. So, this is a common health condition among world populations.
What Is Glucosamine?
This substance is important for building cartilage and can be used to treat different symptoms like arthritis/osteoarthritis. It’s found naturally around people’s and animal’s joints/bones. The substance is also found in other stuff like shellfish like shrimp, crabs, and clams.
In fact, the supplement often includes glucosamine that’s been extracted from shellfish’s shells. Sometimes it’s also made from an artificial source of the substance.
This supplement is available in different forms. These different types are quite similar. However, they can cause different effects when you use them as dietary supplements.
In fact, in certain situations, glucosamine is combined with different substances including some really interesting ones like shark cartilage and something called MSM. There’s some debate about whether or not these combo supplements are better than just the cartilage-building stuff.
When picking supplements there are some key things to watch out for. One is the supplement’s glucosamine content. It can range from 0% to 100%. How is 0% possible? Sometimes the label claims it’s the “hydrochloride” type when it’s actually “sulfate.”
Another factor is the overall quality of the supplement. Make sure to buy from reliable sources to make sure you’re getting good quality products.
Here are some of the conditions this supplement can be used to treat:
1. Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
One study showed that glucosamine might help to decrease the pain that’s related to RA vs. fake pills. However, it didn’t help with reducing the swollen joints’ pain and inflammation.
This substance might also help to relieve pain among people with this type of arthritis in areas like the spine, hip, or knee.
When treating a particular type of arthritis make sure you select the best glucosamine form.
For example, studies show the sulfate form can provide benefits when treating arthritis. However, there’s no evidence that some other types can also effectively treat this condition of the joints.
Benefits of Glucosamine Supplements
Here are some of the benefits you can experience from these supplements:
This substance is available in different combinations. For example, you can find it combined with stuff like shark cartilage and MSM.
One issue to keep in mind is whether or not the combo supplements provide benefits vs. standard glucosamine. Make sure to research studies about certain combos to determine whether or not you’ll be getting more benefits. In some situations that might be the case and other times—not so much.
This substance is generally safe for people suffering from osteoarthritis. It seems to be safe and might even be a good option for people who can’t take NAID drugs.
How about the sulfate form? The results of studies are mixed so there are some question marks about how safe this type is. However, it might be worth giving it a spin in terms of safety and effectiveness.
It’s interesting that about 20% of all dietary supplement users in the US take Glucosamine (2007). In fact, in that year only omega-3 supplements were more popular. Here are some of the reasons people take this supplement:
- Back Pain
- Bladder condition
- Jaw Pain
- Joint Pain
- Weight loss
Glucosamine is critical for building cartilage. This is found in many parts of the body. The rubbery tissue works as a kind of padding located on long bones’ ends where they contact joints.
As people age, the cartilage often becomes less flexible. This can cause it to break down over time. Some studies even show that glucosamine can help to slow down the process.
One theory of scientists is its sulfur in this substance that boosts cartilage health. When it’s absorbed into cartilage it helps to build/repair the stuff. The supplement has a big role in adding sulfur to a person’s cartilage.
Side Effects and Risks
It’s important to be aware of both of them before you start taking a new supplement. Here are some ones linked to glucosamine:
- Skin issues
You might have side-effects due to the substance itself. However, in some cases, it’s from the shellfish that it’s extracted from. In that case, you’re dealing with shellfish allergies. These can be tough to deal with so you’ll have to determine whether or not the side-effects are worth the benefits you’re getting.
If you’re planning to have surgery it’s another issue to consider. That’s because this substance could affect your blood sugar levels before or after your surgery. It’s a good idea to stop taking the supplement 2 weeks prior to your surgery.
If you have allergies then the substance may also worsen them. It’s another issue to consider in terms of risks vs. rewards. Allergies can be tough to deal with when you’re trying to treat arthritis.
You should also consider drug interactions. You might experience interactions when taking glucosamine. That’s due to how it can affect other meds you’re taking.
This includes basic ones like Tylenol. Yes, that’s right! It can also cause interactions with other drugs so make sure to research possible ones.
A related issue is it’s important to inform your doctor of all OTC/prescription medicines you’re taking before you start taking glucosamine. That will help to avoid possible interactions that could happen. Even OTC meds like Tylenol could be affected by this supplement.
If you start taking the supplement and notice symptoms you should contact your doctor immediately. He/She might require you to reduce the dosage, switch to a different form, or make other tweaks. It’s important to consider the pluses and minuses, and especially in terms of side-effects/risks. This will help to provide you with the best results when taking glucosamine.