Glucosamine is a popular used supplement aimed at relieving joint pain, but does it work? Those suffering from osteoarthritis – a form of arthritis caused by wear-and-tear – often supplement their treatment with glucosamine. This is because glucosamine is naturally occurring in the body and is required for biosynthesis of proteoglycan. It is believed that by supplementing with glucosamine, it may help reduce the rate of cartilage break down, which is what leads to painful symptoms.
Glucosamine and chondroitin – another essential part of protecting joints – have been included in medical treatments for osteoarthritis along with many over-the-counter supplements, but their quantities vary greatly between products.
Furthermore, glucosamine comes in many forms such as glucosamine sulfate, glucosamine hydrochloride, and crystalline glucosamine sulfate. One study found that crystalline glucosamine sulfate benefited osteoarthritis patients who took 1,500 mg a day for three years.
Other studies have looked at glucosamine as a preventative measure for individuals over the age of 50. It has been found to be effective.
The biggest effects have been seen when taking glucosamine and chondroitin together within lab studies. But meta-analyses on humans, although showing positive results, were poorly conducted studies.
So, should you be taking glucosamine?
Well, although glucosamine side effects are minor and rare, it is shown to be more effective when taken with chondroitin for prolonged periods of time. On the other hand, for prevention, glucosamine can be taken, but not for prolonged periods of time. If you have high blood pressure or diabetes, it can affect your metabolism.
Always speak to your doctor about whether taking a supplement is safe for you.
Other ways to reduce your risk and manage osteoarthritis include maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding joint injury, and avoiding overuse of joints. Genetics, gender, and ethnicity are other risk factors for osteoarthritis that cannot be changed, so it’s important that you are aware of your risk and act accordingly to reduce it.
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