Published: 02/20/2015 - Updated: 08/14/2019
Author: Dra. Loredana Lunadei
Glucosamine is also known as glucosamine sulfate and is a substance forming part of the human body. The German surgeon Dr. Georg Ledderhose identified this element for the first time in 1876, but at that time, his studies were still not conclusive. In 1880 he wrote a dissertation on glucosamine, and yet the main contribution this had to medicine was discovering an illness that was given this same name.
Glucosamine is present naturally in joint cartilage in mammals, along with other areas of nature, like shellfish and shells, from which it can be extracted. Glucosamine sulfate is used to prepare dietary supplements, but they don’t always come from natural sources. They can also be created in a laboratory.
Use in Osteoarthritis
Currently, glucosamine sulfate is commonly used to treat arthritis. Several scientific studies have been performed for its use with this disease, and it is primarily used to treat a specific type of arthritis, known as osteoarthritis. This is the most common type of arthritis to affect patients. Osteoarthritis is more common in elderly individuals, but younger people can also have osteoarthritis after having suffered from damage to the joints. Osteoarthritis is a disease in the joints, especially in the cartilage. Cartilage is a tissue that covers the ends of bones at the joints. Cartilage facilitates bone movement and softens blows caused by physical movement. Osteoarthritis appears when the top layer of cartilage is damaged or worn down, causing the bones to rub. This friction causes unpleasant side effects, like pain, swelling, and often times, loss of movement in joints. If left untreated, the joint could become deformed.
Causes of osteoarthritis
- Being overweight
- Injuries to the joints
- Defects in joint formation
- Genetic problems relating to joint cartilage
- Joint problems due to work or athletics
The majority of studies concerning glucosamine have found it to be effective for treating osteoarthritis, especially in the knee. However, there are also other studies that have shown it to be effective at treating osteoarthritis in the hips and spinal column.
How does glucosamine work?
The human body uses glucosamine to produce other substances related to the formation of tendons, ligaments, cartilage and fluid surrounding joints. Glucosamine can increase the amount of cartilage and fluid surrounding joints and prevent their wear and tear. Glucosamine is one of the components in hyaluronic acid, which is a component in cartilage. In joint cartilage, glucosamine forms part of proteoglycans (like aggrecan), which has the ability to absorb water, which makes this tissue elastic. Studies confirm the importance of glucosamine sulfate, which has been proven to work better than other forms of glucosamine. The majority of the individuals in the world suffer from arthritis or bone pains state experiencing an increase in joint functionality, and pain reduction with the use of glucosamine. It has even restored damaged cartilage in several cases, while in other patients, it has reduced the need for pain medication. Glucosamine produces substances that prevent bones from rubbing against each other, and works effectively if the source of pain is related to a reduction in fluid between joints.
One should always see the doctor to determine the source of pain by use of X-rays or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). If orthopedic surgery or an alternative treatment is needed, we recommend using glucosamine supplements to improve results.
In addition to the aforementioned benefits and uses, glucosamine also has the following benefits:
- Fights osteoporosis in several joints throughout the body, like the knees and elbows. Likewise, it is effective against arthritis symptoms.
- Acts on varicose veins inflammation in the legs, alleviating pain and itching.
- Has therapeutic properties on the joints.
- Useful for alleviating injuries in the elbows, knees, hands and hips resulting from exercise or physical activity.
- Prevents wear and tear in joint tissue.
- Used as a complement to clinical treatment.
- Glucosamine consumption is well tolerated by the body.
- Some studies show that taking glucosamine sulfate to alleviate jaw pain acts just like anti-inflammatory medication.
- In addition to alleviating pain, when taken over extended periods of time glucosamine could also slow joint wear.
You should buy it in a safe place, with pure ingredientes and quality control like for example Glucosamine.com
There is still not sufficient evidence for effective use in treating glaucoma or weight loss.
As with all supplements, glucosamine is contraindicated for patients with hypersensitivity to this products, or any of the components therein.
Glucosamine can cause some minor side effects, like nausea, heartburn, diarrhea or constipation. Very uncommon side effects include dizziness, skin reactions and headaches.
Due to the fact that some glucosamine sulfate products are obtained from shrimp, lobster or crab shells, it is possible that products containing glucosamine could cause a reaction in individuals allergic to shellfish. Although very rare, if you do experience an allergic reaction, you must immediately discontinue use.
Oral use in adults to treat osteoarthritis has still not been determined, but the majority of clinical studies performed in the past five years recommend a dosage no greater than 500 mg, three times a day. Its use is not recommended during pregnancy or while breast feeding. There also are no conclusive studies to determine whether its use is contraindicated for patients with asthma or diabetes.
You must be careful when combining glucosamine with medications for cancer, because some scientists believe that glucosamine sulfate could increase the rate at which tumor cells copy themselves.
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