For many years now, pharmaceutical companies have been promoting glucosamine supplements to treat osteoarthritis. It has grown to be one of the most common forms of supplements among the western communities. But does glucosamine work?
Osteoarthritis is a condition that is caused due to reduced production of proteoglycan by the body. When the body is unable to produce the required glucosamine and chondroitin naturally, supplementation is suggested to ensure improved joint health.
While there are several other products available as supplements, glucosamine and chondroitin are commonly used and developed as prescription drugs for treating osteoarthritis.
This piece will hopefully shed more light on glucosamine in the aim to understand if it is beneficial to the human body. It will also cover a few topics or subjects like the dosage forms, possible risks, and side effects around glucosamine.
First, let us understand the glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate formulation.
What is Glucosamine?
Glucosamine is a supplement used to stimulate the production of proteoglycan and decrease the activity of enzymes. These enzymes help break down the cartilage lining the parts of the bones in the joints that are constantly rubbing against each other.
What does glucosamine do? The amount of glucosamine in the body is a crucial factor. Having deficient amounts may result in poor joint function, and on the other hand, having high volumes may result to serve side effects and risks.
For this reason, different types of glucosamine are available to control the number of glucosamine intakes. The amount will also vary depending on the type of glucosamine.
What is Chondroitin Sulfate?
Chondroitin sulfate has also specifically been used to relieve symptoms of osteoarthritis. Just as glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate can stimulate the production of more proteoglycan in the body.
However, a study has shown that the intake amount will vary from 800 mg a day compared to a daily dose of 1500mg of glucosamine a day. All in all, there are still claims that show no significant joint pain reduction from chondroitin intake.
Glucosamine and Chondroitin Combined?
According to lab studies, glucosamine and chondroitin taken together can have a beneficial effect on cells in joints. For this reason, it is claimed to have a positive impact on healing osteoarthritis, but a meta-analysis from several human studies seems to think otherwise.
According to the analysis, the studies were sponsored by glucosamine and chondroitin manufactures who may have overstated the results.
Therefore, the question does glucosamine and chondroitin work combined is still to be studied and proven.
Dosage and Supplement Forms: How Much Glucosamine
The typical glucosamine dosage is approximately 1500mg in a day. You can take the dosage all at once or in multiple doses throughout the day.
Depending on a variety of factors, such as body weight, the dosage may be reduced to 1000mg. In most cases, the required body weight is generally over 100lbs.
The supplements are artificially manufactured in a lab and are available in two forms, glucosamine sulfate, and glucosamine hydrochloride.
Often, glucosamine sulfate is combined with chondroitin sulfate, and the combination is later sold. As earlier mentioned, the combination has proven to indicate greater effectiveness and results.
Although the exact duration of treatment has not yet been determined, a study has shown reported treatment will vary from the third to the eighth week. In most cases, if there is no noted improvement within the first two months, there is little chance of recovery.
Therefore, patients are advised to keep a note of their symptoms and improvements when treatment starts to ensure the process is as helpful as possible.
Possible Risks and Side Effects
According to preliminary cases, glucosamine and chondroitin are safe and can be relatively tolerated. The common side effects include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Gastrointestinal upset
The side effects are said to appear in only a few patients, but the results can be unpredictable, especially if very high amounts are taken. The results can get even worse if the patient is under multiple medications or has another diagnosed illness.
In particular, pregnant women and diabetic patients are highly advised against the dosage. The risks and side effects can be very severe and thus recommended to involve a doctor before taking glucosamine or chondroitin.
Moreover, patients on anticoagulants are only advised to take chondroitin sulfate after having discussed and received approval from their respective physicians.
Does it really work with all the mentioned risks and side effects possible to occur from a glucosamine or chondroitin dosage? Let us find out how effective glucosamine really is.
Although we see broad claims on how glucosamine can result in positive results for several diseases, available research only indicates a narrow range of conditions. What’s more, the supplement may not work for everyone.
Matters of quantity have also shown to be essential regarding the levels of effectiveness. Different amounts of glucosamine will affect different patients differently. Therefore, in case you consider using glucosamine, you must be very deliberate and careful because labels may be deceptive in countries like the US.
Also, take the time to check for third-party certification to ensure you are getting precisely what you want. Plus, third party certified supplements will tend to have much higher standards. In addition, look out for NSF or USP logos on the supplement. These are independent companies who have certification services.
Should I Take Glucosamine?
So who should you take glucosamine? Should you?
Knowing what are the benefits of taking glucosamine will help. Patients that suffer from osteoarthritis may benefit from taking glucosamine. However, it will be wise to note that conventional medicine does not have yet a proven treatment to heal or slow the progress of osteoarthritis.
Currently, traditional medical treatment includes drug therapy that aims only to control the pain associated with the condition. The therapy could, therefore, be a disappointment to a few who may not wholly be relieved of their joint pains.
Arguably, such patients may stand to benefit from glucosamine and chondroitin supplements. You just have to consume the correct dosages, and the results can be positive.
Although the body naturally produces glucosamine, one may consume glucosamine supplements to treat various joint, bone, and inflammatory diseases. However, most research only claims these supplements can support and relieve long-term osteoarthritis management.
In terms of dosage, only 1500mg of glucosamine is recommended for higher intake amounts could cause severe side effects and risks to the system. It is also essential to state that the dosage may not be useful for everyone.
Besides, not everyone can safely use the supplement. Pregnant patients and patients with diabetes are expressly excluded form consume glucosamine, for it may be harmful and dangerous.
All said and done, if you are looking for osteoarthritis relief, taking glucosamine may be worth considering. Provided the supplements are taken in the correct amounts and, if possible, include an expert and reading glucosamine reviews will also help.