What does glucosamine do? You may have asked yourself that because many bloggers and nutritionists encourage the use of glucosamine. But to properly answer that question, it is first of all important to describe what glucosamine is.
Glucosamine is a substance that occurs naturally in the body. This substance is made from fructose and the amino acid glutamine. Glucosamine is needed to produce glycosaminoglycan; a molecule used in the formation and repair of cartilage and other body tissues.
However, this description does not provide an exact answer to the question “what does glucosamine do”. So read on quickly!
What does glucosamine do?
Glucosamine is vital for building cartilage. Cartilage is a flexible, tough connective tissue found in various parts of the body. This firm, rubbery tissue acts as padding at the ends of long bones where they meet joints. But what exactly does glucosamine do in the human body?
As we age, cartilage can become less flexible and break down steadily. There is some evidence that taking a supplement containing glucosamine can slow this process down.
Some scientists believe that it is the sulfur in glucosamine that is beneficial for cartilage health. Sulfur must be incorporated into cartilage to repair and repair it. In other words, glucosamine plays a role in the uptake of sulfur in cartilage. This answers the question “what does glucosamine do”. However, read on quickly to find out what glucosamine is used for.
What is glucosamine used for?
It is also interesting to look at the application possibilities of glucosamine supplements. Several health benefits of glucosamine are taken as a starting point. That way you know exactly what a glucosamine supplement can achieve.
1. Glucosamine Can Reduce Inflammation
Glucosamine is often used to treat symptoms of various inflammatory conditions. While the exact relationship between glucosamine and inflammation is still quite unclear, it seems to reduce inflammation easily.
One study showed a significant anti-inflammatory effect of glucosamine – especially when applied to cells involved in bone formation.
Another study – conducted on 200 people – linked the use of glucosamine supplements to a 28% and 24% reduction in two specific biochemical markers of inflammation: CRP and PGE.
2. The substance glucosamine supports healthy joints
We've covered it before in this article, but one of the most important jobs of glucosamine in the human body is to support the healthy development of the tissues between your joints. Articular cartilage is a type of smooth white tissue that covers the ends of your bones where they meet.
Joints are formed through this process. This type of tissue—along with a lubricating fluid called “synovial fluid”—allows bones to move freely over each other, minimizing friction and allowing painless movement through your joints.
Glucosamine helps form several chemical compounds involved in the formation of articular cartilage and synovial fluid. Some studies also indicate that glucosamine supplementation may protect joint tissue by preventing the breakdown of cartilage.
A different study among 41 cyclists showed that supplementation of up to 3 g of glucosamine per day, the collagen degradation in the knees reduced by 27% compared to 8% in the placebo group.
3. To treat bone and joint conditions
Glucosamine supplements are commonly used to treat various bone and joint conditions. This molecule, or glucosamine, has been specifically studied for its potential to treat symptoms and disease progression associated with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoporosis.
Multiple studies indicate that daily supplementation of glucosamine sulfate may provide effective, long-term treatment of osteoarthritis by significantly reducing pain, preserving joint space, and overall slowing of associated disease progression.
Some studies have shown significant reductions in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in mice treated with various forms of glucosamine.
Potential Risks and Side Effects
Glucosamine supplements are safe for most people. However, there are also some risks associated with the use of glucosamine.
Possible side effects include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Suffering from heartburn
- Stomach ache
In addition, do not use a glucosamine supplement if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Glucosamine can also negatively affect blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, although this risk is relatively low. If you have diabetes or are taking diabetes medication, consult your doctor before taking glucosamine.
Glucosamine in summary
It can therefore be used in combination with omega 3 supplements, which also contribute to the maintenance of healthy joints.
While glucosamine is used to treat several joint, bone, and inflammatory diseases, such as IBD, interstitial cystitis, and TMJ, most research only supports its effectiveness for long-term symptom management.
A dosage of 1,500 mg of glucosamine per day seems safe for most people but may cause mild side effects in some. Therefore, if you want to use a glucosamine supplement, you should first discuss this with a doctor or dietician.