Glucosamine is a compound found naturally in the human body and classified as an amino sugar. It is found in gel-like layers of protective cartilage. These layers prevent the joints from hitting and rubbing against each other. It is taken as a nutritional supplement as it is not found naturally in foods. The supplements are produced from the shells of shellfish such as shrimp, crab, and lobster in a laboratory environment. Although further research is needed on the benefits of glucosamine in the treatment and protection of bone and joint diseases, it is recommended for people of over middle age.
Table of Contents
Glucosamine is gel tissue found in cartilage. It prevents the joints from rubbing against each other. These supplements are usually produced from the shells of shellfishes. It can also be synthesized from glucose and amino acid glutamine in a laboratory setting. It has forms such as glucosamine sulfate, glucosamine hydrochloride and n-acetyl glucosamine. These forms cannot replace one another.
People use oral glucosamine sulfate supplements to get rid of painful conditions caused by infection, cartilage loss (osteoarthritis), and cartilage breakdown. Having anti-inflammatory properties, the supplement helps regenerate the cartilage. It may be taken orally. It may also be used in cream or ointment form. (1)
It helps the treatment of diseases such as:
Glucosamine is also beneficial for these conditions:
Glucosamine, together with a lubricating fluid called synovial fluid, helps the joints move smoothly over each other. It minimizes friction between joints and enables bones to move without pain. Therefore, it is regularly used by many athletes.
Besides being a strong anti-inflammatory, it also has an anti-aging effect. It can reduce wrinkles and prevent age-related spots.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of calcification. In osteoarthritis, there is rapidly progressing cartilage glycosaminoglycan degeneration. Therefore, the supplements can help reduce pain in patients with knee, hip, and spine osteoarthritis. It shows positive results at high rates, especially in patients with knee osteoarthritis.
In a 6-year study, it was reported that cartilage loss of adults with knee osteoarthritis slowed down when they regularly took chondroitin plus glucosamine.
There is no standard dose for the administration of it. The appropriate dose for each patient is determined by the doctor. Especially in the treatment of osteoarthritis, it can be administered 1500 mg/d, 750 mg BID or 500 mg TID.
The supplements should be quarterly discontinued for 3 months. If it is necessary to continue after the first 3 months of administration, it should be discontinued for 3 months, then the treatment should be started again.
There are 3 common types of glucosamine found in various foods:
It is the type used the most in clinical research, which exists in the human body. Many studies show that the supplement supports joint health and helps slow the breakdown of fluid between the joints.
Glucosamine sulfate is mostly obtained from the shells of shellfish such as shrimps, crabs, lobsters, but types synthesized in the laboratory environment for people allergic to seafood or do not consume seafood are also available.
It binds to chloride molecules. Unlike sulfate, it is not usually produced from shellfish but has positive effects on joint health. This form is a good alternative for vegetarians and vegans, and for those not consuming seafood or allergic to seafood. (5)
It can be used to support joint tissue, like other types. In addition, it can be used as an anti-aging component for the skin. There are studies showing that it is also beneficial for digestive health.
Just like glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate is a natural component found in cartilage. Chondroitin is a complex carbohydrate and helps cartilages to retain water. When it is combined with glucosamine, it helps support joint pillows, stabilize lubricating in joints and increase joint mobility. (6)
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a naturally occurring form of sulfur. It helps support muscles and tendons in the body. Chondroitin, glucosamine and MSM are a combination of drug as an adjuvant treatment in alternative medicine and this combination is considered to be effective in the treatment of calcification, muscle damage caused by exercise, and other joint disorders.
It is not known exactly how effective it is in the treatment of any medical condition. Further studies on this subject are needed. This product is usually sold as a herbal supplement, and it should replace medications recommended by a doctor.
Glucosamine sulfate supplements are usually produced from the shells of shellfish. It is not naturally found in foods. Therefore, it is used as a supplement.
Glucosamine sulfate is a very safe component when taken at a proper amount. Nevertheless, some side effects that can be caused by misuse and overuse are as follows:
Despite at low rates, glucosamine is likely to worsen asthma and cause fluctuations in blood sugar for patients with diabetes mellitus. Those with diabetes and asthma should consult their doctor before taking glucosamine. You should also talk to your doctor if you are allergic to shellfish.
Glucosamine may also reduce the effectiveness of some medications: