Glucosamine Supplement - Uses And Side Effects
Glucosamine is an aminopolysaccharide (a combination of an amino acid - glutamine and a sugar - glucose). Glucosamine is concentrated in joint cartilage where it is incorporated in longer chains known as glycosaminoglycans and finally into very large structures known as proteoglycans. The proteoglycans function to attract water into the joint space for lubrication of the cartilage during movement.
An amino sugar, glucosamine is found in chitin-a substance in some plants and in the hard outer husk of insects, spiders, scorpions, mites, lobsters, shrimps, crabs, and barnacles. Glucosamine sulfate is synthetically manufactured.
In some studies, glucosamine helped to repair damaged joint cartilage. Researchers have been intensively studying the use of glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfates since the 1997 book, The Arthritis Cure, claimed that this combination can halt or perhaps even cure osteoarthritis. However, much more research is needed to support this claim.
Common doses of Glucosamine
Glucosamine comes in various molecular forms. Most experts seem to prefer glucosamine sulfate, which comes as:
In some studies, patients received 500 milligrams orally twice daily. Other doses have been based on weight:
Uses of Glucosamine
The body draws on glucosamine, which contains the sugar glucose, to produce two molecules necessary for proper cartilage function. Whether glucosamine taken orally has the same cartilage-benefiting actions as the glucosamine naturally present in joints and connective tissue actually remains a subject of debate. Much of the glucosamine sulfate taken in pill form is apparently absorbed through the intestines and is available for the body to use, although precisely how much remains a subject of contention. Ultimately, many arthritis sufferers do report improvements, with about half of study participants experiencing significant relief from pain and inflammation. Research indicates possible benefits for other conditions as well. Specifically, glucosamine may help to:
Side effects of Glucosamine
Call your health care practitioner if you experience any of these possible side effects of glucosamine:
Combining glucosamine with certain drugs may alter their action or produce unwanted side effects. If you use this compound, tell your health care practitioner about any prescription or nonprescription drugs you're taking.
Important points to remember
What the research shows
Some research has found that glucosamine sulfate improved osteoarthritis symptoms. Unfortunately, those studies were poorly designed and analyzed. Defining glucosamine's role in treating bone and joint disorders will require long-term, carefully designed and controlled studies.
With inadequate information about its effectiveness, the Arthritis Foundation doesn't recommend glucosamine for osteoarthritis or any other arthritis form. What's more, animal studies suggest glucosamine may impede insulin secretion, posing a potential risk for anyone with diabetes.
Other names for Glucosamine
Other names for glucosamine include chitosamine, glucosamine sulfate, and GS.
Products containing glucosamine are sold under such names as Arth-X Plus, Enhanced Glucosamine Sulfate, Flexi-Factors, Glucosamine Complex, Glucosamine Mega, Joint Factors, Nutri-Joint, and Ultra Maximum Strength Glucosamine Sulfate.
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