January 20, 2021
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If you’re looking for a supplement that may ease your joint pain, glucosamine might be worth a try. Some studies show it gives relief for mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis, and it may work for other joints, too.
Some supplements combine glucosamine with other ingredients, such as chondroitin sulfate, shark cartilage, or methylsulfonylmethane (MSM).
What is Glucosamine?
Glucosamine is a natural chemical compound in your body. It is a natural sugar (amino sugar) that exists in the fluid around the joints. But it also comes in the form of a supplement. There are two main types: hydrochloride and sulfate.
What does Glucosamine do?
The body uses glucosamine to build and repair cartilage. Cartilage is a flexible, tough, rubbery connective tissue that protects the bones in the joints. It provides padding and prevents the bones from rubbing together.
As people age, their cartilage can become less flexible and start to break down. In time, the reduction could contribute to joint deterioration. This can lead to pain, inflammation, and tissue damage, which, for example, occurs in osteoarthritis.
There’s some evidence that glucosamine sulfate supplements help counteract this effect, although experts aren’t sure how.
Some people have also used glucosamine to try to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease, asthma, allergies, chronic venous insufficiency, sports injuries, temporomandibular joint problems (TMJ), and long-term low back pain. So far, though, there’s not much scientific evidence that it works for those problems.
How much Glucosamine should you take?
In most studies on treating osteoarthritis, the typical dose was 500 milligrams of glucosamine sulfate, three times a day. Ask your doctor what they recommend for you. Some experts suggest you take it with meals to prevent an upset stomach.
Can you get Glucosamine naturally from foods?
Although glucosamine sulfate supplements are often manufactured from the shells of shellfish, there aren’t any natural food sources of glucosamine.
What are the risks of taking Glucosamine?
On the whole, glucosamine seems to be a fairly safe supplement. Side effects are generally mild. You’re more likely to get them if you take high doses. They may include things like:
Risks. If you have a shellfish allergy, be cautious about using glucosamine because you could have a reaction. Also, check with your doctor before taking supplements if you have diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, bleeding disorders, or high blood pressure.
Interactions. Check with your doctor before you use glucosamine if you take other medicines, including heart drugs, blood thinners, and diabetes drugs. Also, glucosamine isn’t recommended for children or women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, because there isn’t enough evidence yet about whether it’s safe for those groups.
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