Arthritis can be quite debilitating with its excruciating inflammation featuring the ruthless trinity of pain, stiffness, and swelling. To combat these symptoms of arthritis, a myriad of treatments are available, of which the natural remedies are gaining more importance. Do you know the reason behind it? Well, the word ‘natural’ itself explains it all – no side effects, ease of use, highly effective, and inexpensively available. One of these remedies includes using natural supplements of which glucosamine is the well researched and the most recommended one. Let us find out about this supplement in detail!
What Is Glucosamine
Glucosamine refers to an essential compound required for developing the cartilage and is organically present in high quantities in the synovial fluid flanking the joints. Because it is not possible to obtain it from food, the patients of arthritis consume it as a dietary, over-the-counter supplement. Generally, the compound is obtainable naturally from shellfish or is made synthetically. There are three types of glucosamine namely, glucosamine hydrochloride, glucosamine sulfate, or n-acetyl glucosamine. For the arthritis patients, it is available in three forms namely, capsule, tablet, and powder.
The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) has reported that glucosamine is, at present, the most regularly as well as universally used supplement for arthritis pain relief. According to its report, a majority of the glucosamine supplements feature a mix of glucosamine types or other supplements.
How Glucosamine Work
In humans, the chondrocyte cells present in the capsules of joints generate glucosamine that further produces proteoglycans and glycosaminoglycans. When collagen combines with these substances, it results into a healthy cartilage that tends to absorb shocks for protecting the joints. In addition, these substances along with the glucosamine add to the thickness of the synovial fluid, which results in lubrication between the cartilage and bones for alleviating the wear and tear condition.
In people with arthritis, it has been found that the levels of glucosamine are always down. Therefore, experts recommend taking glucosamine supplement for boosting the formation of cartilage, a required factor for mending the joints. In addition, glucosamine repairs the damaged cartilage by inhibiting the enzymes responsible for the cartilage break down, which decelerates the development of osteoarthritis as well as the spread of the common symptoms of arthritis.
According to the AAFP, this compound has the power to kindle the cells that are responsible for forming the cartilage. Further, even the Human Biochemistry and Disease has admitted that one of the main causes of osteoarthritis is the waning of glucosamine production being prominent in people of over 50 years.
Apart from the above abilities, glucosamine has another vital ability to reverse the symptoms of inflammation via its anti-inflammatory properties. According to the reports of the AAFP, this compound showed variable outcomes in different trials, but is effective for alleviating the symptoms. In fact, Arthritis Today has stated that glucosamine can replace a few anti-inflammatory drugs such as NSAIDs prescribed commonly for osteoarthritis. However, glucosamine takes time to show its effects.
What Are The Different Types Of Glucosamine
The most common type in use for both treatment and studies is glucosamine sulfate that is present in the exoskeletons of shellfish and is stabilized by the use of sodium. MayoClinic.com says that this type has given the ideal outcomes when it comes to alleviating the symptoms as well as the progression of osteoarthritis hitting the hips as well as the knees. However, glucosamine sulfate can induce allergic reactions.
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The other option is glucosamine hydrochloride that is relatively more stable and possesses higher concentration of the compound. However, it does not show consistent results. A few of its brands obtain the compound from the vegetable sources rather than shellfish. Lastly, N-acetyl glucosamine is another option. However, this one is hardly in use, as the intestinal bacteria quickly digest it due to which no change in the joints becomes visible.
Which Types Of Arthritis Does Glucosamine Treat
It has been proved that glucosamine is quite effective in treating osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, the most widespread types of arthritis. In 2007, a Japanese research concluded that glucosamine has the ability to relieve the pain as well as stiffness caused due to rheumatoid arthritis. Glucosamine is occasionally preferred with chondroitin sulfate that is also present in cartilage, which together can treat the other types of arthritis. However, research is still ongoing in this matter. Therefore, you need to talk to your health care professional before taking glucosamine.
Is Any Clinical Study Performed On Glucosamine
Yes, clinical studies are in progress since 2007, but most of these have focused on the bigger joints such as knees and hips. Very few researches have been done on hands, elbows, and shoulders. In short, all the studies concluded that glucosamine is beneficial for alleviating the symptoms of arthritis, not in curing it completely.
What Is The Recommended Dosage Of Glucosamine
Glucosamine, in the capsule or tablet form, is available as 500 mg supplement. However, if the doctor permits, you can liquefy it along with some more compounds such as chondroitin. Typically, for humans, the recommended dosage is 1,500 mg daily that one can take at once or split into three equal doses. This dosage of glucosamine sulfate was tested in a study whose results were published in Arthritis and Rheumatism edition of 2007. According to the results, this dose is more helpful than acetaminophen when it comes to combating the signs of knee osteoarthritis. This dose triggered positive effects such as alleviated inflammation and pain, decelerated cartilage degeneration, and boosted mobility.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, one must take glucosamine regularly for four to eight weeks minimum to experience the desired results. This is because glucosamine takes time to accumulate and work in the body.
What Are The Side Effects Of Glucosamine
Despite of the above pros, the glucosamine supplement has a negative point although it is available without a prescription. This con is that it can induce some minor side effects such as nausea, upset stomach, soft stools, and diarrhea. AAFP has reported that these side effects are identical to the ones caused by the other pain-relieving drugs for osteoarthritis. Therefore, before including glucosamine in the treatment regimen, an advice of your doctor is essential.
Are There Any Contraindications
If you are allergic to shellfish or its allergies are present in the compound, you must never take it, as most of the supplements are obtainable from the shellfish’s shells. In addition, the diabetic patients must stay away from glucosamine, as it might result in fluctuation of insulin. Further, avoid the supplement during pregnancy or breastfeeding because some evidence shows its bad effects on the fetus and toddler. Lastly, the compound does not work well with the blood thinners, which calls for caution for people using them.
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Caution: Please use Home Remedies after Proper Research and Guidance. You accept that you are following any advice at your own risk and will properly research or consult healthcare professional.