Glucosamine has been seen to play an essential role in cartilage building. For this reason, many people have started taking glucosamine for joints, in a bid to help them treat osteoarthritis and arthritis. Normally, glucosamine occurs naturally in the fluids found around the joints, in fungi, in animal bones, shellfish, and in the bone marrow.
When it comes to glucosamine for arthritis, you have to note that it can either be synthesized in a lab or extracted from shellfish shells. Glucosamine sulfate as it is referred to is meant to produce dietary supplements (learn more about it at Harnessing Strength).
This article seeks to take a closer look at glucosamine for joint pain, including the various reasons why powerlifters take it as a supplement. We will also attempt to look at whether there exists any scientific evidence to help determine its efficiency.
What Is It?
Glucosamine for knee pain is often taken orally and can be found in varying forms, e.g.,
- Glucosamine hydrochloride
- Glucosamine sulfate
While they may appear similar, and even share a name, each variant will bring about different effects when consumed by the powerlifter as a dietary supplement.
It’s important to note that in certain supplements, the best glucosamine supplement for knees may come as a blend of different ingredients. For instance, you shouldn’t be surprised to come across a blend containing shark cartilage, MSM, or chondroitin sulfate.
Chondroitin and glucosamine share several similarities, including the fact they both occur naturally in human joints. While some hold a strong belief that combining the supplements is crucial, many researchers tend to hold a contrary scientific view.
Currently, many of the studies that have been carried out on glucosamine joint pain capabilities have all focused on glucosamine sulfate.
Whenever you are looking to purchase some dietary supplements, it’s advisable you only do so from renowned outlets. According to the NIH (U.S. National Institutes of Health), glucosamine sulfate dietary supplements don’t always come with the indicated ingredients. Simply put, you shouldn’t place all your faith in the label included by the manufacturer.
Additionally, studies conducted so far have shown that the glucosamine for joint pain content can vary between 0 to 100%. In other cases, the manufacturer label may indicate the contents in the supplement are glucosamine hydrochloride, but in reality, they are glucosamine sulfate.
Is glucosamine good for arthritis? This is a popular question commonly posed by powerlifters and arthritis sufferers looking for a way to help them manage joint pain. As mentioned earlier, glucosamine plays an important role in the creation of cartilage.
This is a tough, but flexible connective tissue located in numerous areas of the body. It can be found at the end of long bones where it serves as padding before the bones meet the joints.
Cartilage begins to steadily breakdown and becomes less flexible as the years begin to advance. Even as many continue to wonder, ‘does glucosamine work for knee pain?’ some scientists believe the supplement can assist in slowing down the cartilage breakdown process.
Those advancing this belief are convinced that the sulfur contained in glucosamine chondroitin for arthritis is instrumental in maintaining the health of the cartilage. The sulfur must get incorporated inside the cartilage for it to assist with the repair and building process. Typically, glucosamine is required for sulfur to get incorporated into cartilage.
Aging automatically causes the glucosamine levels to depreciate. Therefore, it’s likely this will cause the joints to deteriorate as one continues to age.
According to a 2007 National Health Interview Survey conducted by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Therapy, about 17.7% of all adults in the US are actively taking one form of dietary supplements or the other.
Of this percentage, 19.9% are those taking glucosamine for knees. Based on these results, it was determined glucosamine was the second most prevalently used supplement coming behind DHA, omega 3, or fish oil. About 34.7% of the populace taking supplements were taking these supplements.
According to the NIH, there are common reasons why people choose to ingest glucosamine arthritis, more so glucosamine sulfate:
- HIV and AIDS
- Osteoarthritis (OA)
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Back pain
- Weight loss
- Joint pain, e.g., knee pain
- Jaw pain
- Interstitial cystitis, which is a condition attributed to a malfunctioning bladder
Glucosamine supplements are also commonly ingested by individuals suffering from ulcerative colitis and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Is Glucosamine Good for Arthritis
Often, many people opt to take glucosamine supplements to assist them in easing OA symptoms, more so OA of the knee or hip.
Some studies have suggested that ingesting glucosamine may bring about numerous effects, such as:
- Continue to provide relief from problematic symptoms for up to 90 days after a person has stopped taking the supplements.
- Enhance function among people who are suffering from hip or knee osteoarthritis.
- Reduce osteoarthritis-related swelling, stiffness, and pain in the joints.
Nonetheless, the GAIT (Glucosamine and Chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial) which involved 1,600 test subjects in 16 U.S. locations established that taking a blend of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate didn’t provide significant relief from osteoarthritis.
On the same breadth, advice has also been issued for people to refrain from using chondroitin or glucosamine by the American College of Rheumatology and the Arthritis Foundation. The reason for this advisory is the lack of enough proof showcasing their efficiency or safety, particularly for individuals suffering from osteoarthritis.
There are those who through experimentation have come to learn creams that have glucosamine may assist in managing arthritis-related pain. On the other hand, the NIH believes the reason these creams are effective is that they also contain other ingredients, e.g., camphor.
According to the NIH, the reason the creams work may be due to the presence of the additional ingredients. Besides, there isn’t evidence to prove glucosamine can get absorbed via the skin.
Over the years, glucosamine has been advanced as a potential treatment for numerous illnesses and conditions. However, many of the studies conducted to prove these claims have often turned out to be inconclusive. Some have tended to be harmful or ineffective for individuals with other conditions, e.g., allergic reactions. Knowing the when is the best time to take glucosamine chondroitin MSM also helps.
So far, no evidence has been found to demonstrate that it can or can’t assist individuals with chronic lower back pain or sports injuries.
On the same breath, there are no scientifically-backed studies to show glucosamine can either prove detrimental or beneficial to individuals who may have numerous insufficiencies which typically affect the flow of blood into their legs.