What is Glucosamine?
Glucosamine is a compound that is normally produced by our body. Most often, it exists in our cartilage and aid in creating the fats and proteins that repair your cartilage when it is damaged.
Glucosamine is not often found in foods, but it is mainly sold as a supplement in capsules, drops, or topical forms. Supplements can be produced from the shells of shellfish or be synthesized artificially. Periodic intake of glucosamine supplements may offer a lot of health benefits, majorly for joint pain such as arthritis.
It is often used to treat symptoms of bone and joint complications; it is likewise used to tackle several other inflammatory diseases.
These supplements may provide some vital health benefits. Some previous trials suggest that glucosamine may possess some antioxidant effects that can help improve your eye health, which is majorly helpful for folks with conditions like glaucoma.
Let us now go through the health benefits of this compound.
Reduction of Inflammation
Glucosamine is often used supplemented to treat a lot of various inflammatory conditions.
Although glucosamine’s mechanisms are yet to be properly understood, it appears to readily lower inflammation.
A test-tube study showed a significant anti-inflammatory impact when the compound was applied to cells responsible for bone formation.
Most of the researches on glucosamine entailed simultaneously supplementing it with chondroitin (a similar compound to glucosamine), which is also responsible for your body’s maintenance and production of healthy cartilage.
A study in over 200 folks referred glucosamine supplements to a 24% and 28% reduction in two biochemical markers of inflammation: PGE and CRP, respectively. However, these results were statistically insignificant.
Indeed it worth noting that the same study noticed a 36% reduction of these inflammatory markers for folks taking chondroitin. This result was significant. Keep in mind that almost all participants who took chondroitin also reported simultaneous supplementing with glucosamine.
Thus, it remains very unclear if the results were driven by chondroitin alone or the combination of the two supplements taken together. Therefore, more research is required to ascertain glucosamine’s role in the reduction of inflammatory markers in the human body.
May Help Treat Osteoarthritis
Glucosamine should be of benefit in the treatment of this bone complication, especially when in the knee. Despite some positive discoveries, there are still a lot of studies contradicting these claims.
A published early report in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews claimed that some preparations of glucosamine may lower pain and boost functioning in folks with known osteoarthritis. The study analyzed about 20 randomized controlled findings involving a total of 2,570 adults.
One of the biggest glucosamine studies, by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), negates these results. Named the Glucosamine/Chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (GAIT), the 2-year research study compared the activities of chondroitin and glucosamine in about 662 people suffering from knee osteoarthritis and discovered that neither of the compounds showed any benefit in easing knee pain. Further researches are advised to find out more concrete evidence.
Ease Joint Pain
Several research studies around the globe have shown that glucosamine seems to ease joint pain, especially among folks with osteoarthritis. The scientific proof for glucosamine is so strong that the compound is very much available as a medicinal substance and not just as a supplement; in the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe.
May Face TMJ Osteoarthritis
Glucosamine is effective on temporomandibular joint (TMJ) osteoarthritis, according to a published study in the Journal of Research in Pharmacy Practice. The trial entailed 60 using adults with TMJ who were given either ibuprofen, glucosamine, or a placebo for 3 months. Although ibuprofen and glucosamine were both more effective in easing pain than a placebo, ibuprofen proved superior to glucosamine.
Used to Treat Bone and Joint Disorders
Glucosamine supplements are often taken to treat various joint and bone conditions. This molecule has been studied for its potential to cure symptoms and disease progression linked with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and osteoporosis.
Multiple studies showed that supplementing daily with glucosamine sulfate may render a long-term treatment for osteoarthritis by maintaining joint space, significantly reducing pain and a general slowing of disease progression.
Some studies, however, have shown significantly lowered markers of rheumatoid arthritis in mice treated with different forms of glucosamine. Conversely, a human study did not show any significant changes in rheumatoid arthritis progression with the use of glucosamine. However, participants reported significant improvement in symptom management.
Some early research studies in mice with osteoporosis also proved the potential for supplemental use of glucosamine to boost bone strength.
While these results are thrilling, more human studies are needed to fully understand the mechanisms of action and best applications for glucosamine in bone and joint diseases.
Low Back Pain
Glucosamine may not benefit some people with degenerative lumbar osteoarthritis and chronic lower back pain, according to a detailed study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The 24-weeks trial, on 250 individuals with both conditions, claimed that glucosamine was better than the placebo in terms of providing pain relief to arthritis.
Glucosamine is promoted as a remedy for interstitial cystitis (IC), a condition linked with a deficiency in glycosaminoglycan.
Because this compound, glucosamine, is a precursor to glucosamine, it’s therefore theorized that glucosamine supplements could help manage IC. Unfortunately, reliable scientific backing to prove this theory is lacking.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Just like interstitial cystitis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is linked with a deficiency in glycosaminoglycan.
Very little research supports the idea that glucosamine may treat IBD. However, a research study in mice with IBD showed that glucosamine supplements may reduce inflammation. More research studies are necessary to draw some definitive conclusions.
Glaucoma is widely believed to be curable with glucosamine. Some early studies showed that glucosamine sulfate may boost eye health by reducing antioxidant and inflammation effects in your retina.
Conversely, another small study claimed that excessive glucosamine intake may hurt people with glaucoma.
Although glucosamine offers a lot of health benefits and can boost your body’s overall function, taking supplements does carry some risk. Some folks experience an upset stomach, insomnia, or bloating, although the symptoms are often mild and generally varnish after supplementing your diet for a few weeks. Go through the following to find out some possible health risks associated with these supplements.
May Trigger Shellfish Allergies
Since most glucosamine supplements are produced from shellfish shell extracts, these supplements may foster shellfish allergies. Be careful when choosing this supplement if you have a shellfish allergy, and look out for the source of the compound before taking it. Look for vegan supplements since these may not include any animal components.
2. May Affect Blood Sugar
Some research studies claimed that glucosamine supplements may hurt insulin resistance. If you are diabetic, talk with your medical doctor before turning to these supplements in your routine.
3. Affects Liver Function
In many case studies, folks who took supplements that contained glucosamine developed significant liver damage. However, the supplements have several other strong ingredients, and specific levels of glucosamine in the supplements were not provided. Supplements having only glucosamine, or chondroitin and glucosamine, have not been attributed to these problems.
Glucosamine supplements should NEVER be taken with the blood-thinning drug Coumadin (warfarin) as it could raise its effects and cause serious bleeding and bruising.
There is some evidence to prove glucosamine may collide with certain cancer drugs, known as topoisomerase II inhibitors. These include VePesid (etoposide), Adriamycin (doxorubicin), mitoxantrone, and VM26 (teniposide). Glucosamine may lower the effectiveness of all these drugs.
Dosage and Preparation
There is yet no standard recommended dosage for glucosamine. The supplement is only sold in tablets and capsules and is mostly included with other supplements that may ease the pain.
Nevertheless, for osteoarthritis, the following doses have been proved:
- By mouth: 1,500 mg daily, taken once, in split doses of 750 mg, or three doses of 500 mg.
- Topically: A salve containing 32 mg/gram of camphor, 50 mg/gram of chondroitin sulfate, 30 mg/gram of glucosamine sulfate, 140 mg/gram of chondroitin sulfate, and 9 mg/gram of peppermint oil should be applied to the skin for 8 weeks.
- By injection: 400 mg of glucosamine sulfate into the muscle two times weekly for a month-and-half.
Glucosamine supplements are available in two forms:
- Glucosamine sulfate
- Glucosamine hydrochloride
Occasionally, glucosamine sulfate is as well sold in combination with chondroitin sulfate.
Most scientific pieces of evidence indicate the greatest efficacy for glucosamine sulfate or glucosamine sulfate when combined with chondroitin.