Glucosamine and Your Joints

Glucosamine and Your Joints

Arthritis is a very common condition that people of all ages can develop. As the human body ages, the bones become less flexible and more prone to injuries.

Some of the joints that suffer from the inflammation of arthritis are the wrists, knees, and the spinal column. The pain can range from slightly disturbing to extreme, and in many cases, people are prevented from participating in their favorite activities.

Besides exercise, glucosamine is a possible treatment for osteoarthritis in complementing other forms of therapy.

Why Glucosamine Works

There are two molecules that exist in joint cartilage: glucosamine and chondroitin. If the cartilage is damaged or worn because of an injury, atrophy, or aging, it needs to be repaired. Ideally both glucosamine and chondroitin would be present for the recovery process to relive pain and restore mobility.

A natural compound found in healthy cartilage, glucosamine specifically contributes to the formation and strengthening of cartilage. It can be a powerful ingredient in the effort to repair joints. Chondroitin assists the rebuilding by providing resilience to the cartilage. Together, these two elements have become a frequent and effective treatment option for arthritis patients.

Allergic Reactions and Side Effects

Generally, glucosamine sulfate has been reported to be tolerated for 30 to 90 days in humans. One concern is that patients with allergies might have a problem with the glucosamine that is made from the shells of shrimp, crab, and other shellfish. Although some studies have shown that there is not a significant amount of shrimp allergen in the glucosamine to upset people with shrimp allergies, it is definitely something to be cautions about. Inform your physician about any seafood or other allergies that you have before you begin glucosamine treatments.

There are a number of side effects associated with glucosamine, including an upset stomach, insomnia, drowsiness, headaches, various skin reactions, nail toughening, and sun sensitivity. Rarely, abdominal pain, vomiting, constipation, loss of appetite, and heartburn have taken place. Glucosamine or chondroitin products have also been known to raise the risk of eye cataract formation in some people.

A few studies link glucosamine supplements with an altering of blood sugar and insulin levels while other studies dispute the claims. Patients can receive glucosamine either orally or by an injection, which appears to cause insulin resistance and endothelial dysfunction. For safety reasons, patients with diabetes or hypoglycemia are advised to use caution when taking glucosamine, especially with other drugs, herbs, or supplements that might also have an effect on blood sugar levels.

Another possible risk of using glucosamine is bleeding. The dosing amounts need to be monitored closely for people with bleeding disorders, and adjusted to lessen the risk. There are differences in the products available that could account for some of the testing results, so be sure to compare the options and select the one that is right for you.


Although research is still being conducted, some aspects of glucosamine use have not yet been defined. It is not recommended during pregnancy or breast feeding. Again, it is very important to discuss your individual condition with your physician before taking glucosamine.


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