Learn More About Glucosamine

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1. What Is It?

The category of ingredients are the best known 'joint health’ enhancers.

2. Who Needs It?

This category of product is typically used only by those seek a long-term solution to potential joint pain. Active individuals should definitely take this as well as those who run a risk of osteoarthritis. And interestingly, there is data to suggest that it may even help those with rheumatoid arthritis.

3. What Does The Science Show?

One more set, one more rep; you tear down those muscle fibers and you rebuild them. That’s the ticket to muscle mass. And if you’re an aerobic creature, hill repeats, intervals on the track, and not to mention, the long slow distance work. All of these stresses you put on your fast and slow twitch muscles takes a toll.

On your joints that is! Without healthy joints, you’re as good as a legless dog in an ear scratching contest. Now even if you’re not a serious athlete, you still need to maintain good joint health just to maintain your normal activities of daily living. Why? Our joints, more than just the meeting of two bones, are the very structures that withstand the day to day beating.

The science of glucosamine and chondroitan (esp. glucosamine) are quite impressive to say the least. For instance, the efficacy of glucosamine (GS) and/or chondroitin sulfate (CS) in the therapy of mild to moderate osteoarthritis (OA) was reviewed in a scientific paper. OA, the most common joint disease is a significant source of disability and a considerable cost to any health care system. In the Czech Republic, glucosamine sulfate (GS) and chondroitin sulfate (CS) are available both as prescription drugs and as food supplements. They are both useful, according to this study, in the earlier stages of OA when combined with other modalities such as weight loss and exercises. Glucosamine and chondroitan appear to relieve pain and improve range of the joint motion. In addition, they also display mild anti-inflammatory effects.(Simanek et al., 2005)

In another investigation, from February 2006 to January 2007, 60 patients with knee DOA or degenerative osteoarthritis were treated with glucosamine hydrochloride, including 15 males and 45 females. The ages of patients ranged from 41 to 67 years with an average age of 57.5 years. The disease course ranged from 6 months to 3 years. Oral glucosamine hydrochloride was given twice a day, each 750 mg, for a 6-week course of treatment; another course of treatment was repeated after 4 months.

Accordingly, the stated that “glucosamine hydrochloride can cure knee DOA with symptom-relieving and joint function-improving action.”(Gang and Gao, 2008) It’s interesting they used the word ‘cure!’ What are its effects on the incidence of Total Joint Replacement (TJR) during the long-term follow-up of patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA) formerly receiving treatment with glucosamine sulphate or placebo? They discovered that “treatment of knee OA with glucosamine sulphate for at least 12 months and up to 3 years may prevent TJR in an average follow-up of 5 years after drug discontinuation.”(Bruyere et al., 2008) Wow! It may prevent TJR! Another study found that glucosamine treatment produced noticeable improvements in symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.(Nakamura et al., 2007)

Furthermore, one study compared 1.2 g ibuprofen daily with 1.5 g glucosamine sulphate daily, in three divided doses and found that glucosamine is as effective as ibuprofen in relieving joint pain associated with osteoarthritis. Glucosamine's pain-relieving effects are probably due to its cartilage-rebuilding properties.(Ruane and Griffiths, 2002) Also, in a study published in the FASEB Journal (2007;21:lb224), scientists discovered that in 30 sedentary women (54±9 yrs, 163±7 cm; 89±13 kg; 46±3% body fat) with knee osteoarthritis (OA) that participated in a 14-week exercise and diet program, those who ingested a supplement containing glucosamine (1,500 mg/d), chondroitan sulfate (1,200 mg/d), MSM (900 mg/d), and white willow bark (180 mg/d) tended to have decreased perceptions of pain in their joints. So combination these ‘joint health’ supplements with exercise and a proper diet seems to be the best overall strategy!

4. Is It Safe?

Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are two popular and safe supplements. Research suggests that oral intakes of Glucosamine and chondroitan, either alone or in combination, reduces joint pain and improves mobility in persons with osteoarthritis. Intakes up to 2000 mg/d for glucosamine, and 1200 mg/d for chondroitin sulfate are considered safe.

It is apparent that glucosamine and chondroitan can have a profound and beneficial effect on joint function or health. Try about a couple months minimum of 1500 mg glucosamine plus 1200 mg of chondroitan to get an effective response. In addition, take your multivitamins and eat plenty of essential fats for good measure.

References:

1. Simanek V, Kren V, Ulrichova J, Gallo J. The efficacy of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate in the treatment of osteoarthritis: are these saccharides drugs or nutraceuticals? Biomed Pap Med Fac Univ Palacky Olomouc Czech Repub. Jun 2005;149(1):51-56. 2. Gang X, Gao L. [Therapeutic results of glucosamine hydrochloride for knee degenerative osteoarthritis]. Zhongguo Xiu Fu Chong Jian Wai Ke Za Zhi. Jan 2008;22(1):29-31. 3. Bruyere O, Pavelka K, Rovati LC, et al. Total joint replacement after glucosamine sulphate treatment in knee osteoarthritis: results of a mean 8-year observation of patients from two previous 3-year, randomised, placebo-controlled trials. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. Feb 2008;16(2):254-260. 4. Nakamura H, Masuko K, Yudoh K, Kato T, Kamada T, Kawahara T. Effects of glucosamine administration on patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatol Int. Jan 2007;27(3):213-218. 5. Ruane R, Griffiths P. Glucosamine therapy compared to ibuprofen for joint pain. Br J Community Nurs. Mar 2002;7(3):148-152.

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