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Team Inspiriko - April 2022

GLUCOSAMINE - The Miracle Joint Pain Relief Ingredient

Glucosamine is a chemical compound that exists naturally in animal and human tissues. In the human body, it acts as a building block of various molecules. But maintaining and developing cartilage that support your joints is glucosamine's main role. It is this ability of Glucosamine that has made it a subject of interest for researchers and doctors trying to help Osteoarthritis patients with pain and discomfort relief. It has been extensively studied over the years and has been used safely in both medicines and supplements for many years.

Different Types of glucosamine

Glucosamine is found in fungi, animal bones, and shellfish shells. As dietary sources of Glucosamine are very limited, these natural sources are often used to manufacture glucosamine in supplement form.

In order to deliver Glucosamine to your body more efficiently, it is bound to different “carrier” molecules. This has given rise to different types of Glucosamine.

The main types of glucosamine are:

Glucosamine Sulfate (2KCl)
This is the oldest form of Glucosamine. In Glucosamine Sulphate, the Glucosamine is bound to sulfur. Most research shows that joint health, especially the knees, is supported by glucosamine sulfate. Over an extended period, usage of Glucosamine may result in the slowdown of cartilage degradation. In case you have shellfish allergies, it is recommended to choose another supplement because this type is usually made from shellfish like a crab.

Glucosamine Hydrochloride (HCl)

This is a newer form of Glucosamine. In this Glucosamine is bound with chloride particles. This is considered to be the purest form of Glucosamine, and according to some research a more effective form of Glucosamine supplement. This is the best option for vegans and people with allergies because it offers the same joint health benefit as glucosamine sulfate, but with much lesser side effects.

N-acetyl-glucosamine (NAG)
This type of supplement comprises N-acetyl glucosamine, a combination of acetic acid and glucosamine, instead of being bound by chloride or sulfur. Chloride or sulfur are smaller and less complex molecules compared to acetic acid. N-acetyl-glucosamine is used as an anti-aging agent for the skin and enhances digestive health as well as supporting joint tissues like other types of glucosamine.

What is it used for?

Relief from Osteoarthritis
Research suggests Glucosamine can provide pain relief for knee osteoarthritis patients. Any degeneration related with osteoarthritis can be slowed down by daily use of Glucosamine. But most research suggests that it is most effective when Glucosamine is combined with Chondroitin. On it’s own Glucosamine has shown mixed success in helping with OA related discomfort.

The benefits provided for hip, spine and hand by taking glucosamine supplement and chondroitin require more research.

Other uses of glucosamine

Inflammation Reduction – some symptoms of inflammatory problems are treated with glucosamine supplement, although understanding of the mechanisms is poor and requires for research.

To treat bone and joint disorders – Various joint and bone disorders are treated by frequently taking glucosamine supplements. Glucosamine sulfate is the most focused supplement by researchers to treat joints and bone conditions.

Multiple sclerosis treatment – This is a chronic disease that distresses the central nervous system. Tremors, trouble walking, seeing, fatigue, and talking are some symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Some research suggests, multiple sclerosis can be effectively treated by using glucosamine, although more research is needed to establish mechanism of action and whether long term relief is achieved.

How does Glucosamine work?

Glucosamine primarily works by helping the body produce glycoproteins and glycosaminoglycan. Glycoproteins and glycosaminoglycan are essential in building joint parts such as tendons, ligaments, synovial fluid, and cartilage.

Research has shown an increase in synovial fluid and cartilage around the joints by taking glucosamine supplement. Cartilage and fluid are crucial for providing joints with cushioning support.

In addition to helping with increasing the cartilage around joints, by combining Glucosamine with Chondroitin some studies have shown that, cells called chondrocytes are protected. Chondrocytes cells help to maintain the structure of cartilage around the joints.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin also provide relief to OA patients through their anti inflammatory properties. It helps reduce inflammation around joints, which is a common occurrence for OA patients.

The GAIT study (Glucosamine/Chondroitin Intervention Trial), one of the most comprehensive study done on the effect of glucosamine for OA joint pain relief, found that a combination of Glucosamine and Chondroitin used for 8 weeks helped a majority of participants with pain relief.

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Who should not take Glucosamine?

Due to lack of safety evidence, glucosamine should not be taken by breastfeeding or pregnant women. Type 2 diabetes patients may be at risk, but it is relatively low because the small hypoglycemic effect is contained in glucosamine. But to be safe, you should contact your doctor before taking glucosamine if you have diabetes or are on diabetes medication.

Glaucoma risk may also be increased by taking glucosamine, though evidence is mixed; thus, people aged 60 and above, those with a glaucoma family history, as well as those with high blood pressure, heart disease, or diabetes, are advised not to take glucosamine supplements.

Shellfish allergy patients should not take glucosamine sulfate supplements and thus should consult healthcare for other recommendations.

What are the side effects?

For most people, glucosamine supplements are safe and have no side effects but there are some that you need to keep in mind. Here are some possible side effects:

• Heartburn
• Vomiting and nausea
• Abdominal pain
• Diarrhea

Other side effcts
• Skin reactions
• Headache
• Drowsiness

Does it interact with any medicines?

Glucosamine interacts differently with medicines; thus, you need to be careful. Here are some of these interactions;

Blood clotting medicines. These are used to prevent the process of blood clotting. But Glucosamine can impact the working of these medicines. The risk of bleeding and bruising can increase; thus, it is advised not to take glucosamine if you are under warfarin medication.

Cancer medications. How fast copying of cancer cells is decreased by some cancer medications; thus, their working may not be interrupted or blocked by the use of glucosamine supplements. You need to be cautious because the effectiveness of glucosamine and some cancer medications may be decreased.

Pain relievers (Non NSAIDs and Non Aspirin types): The working of acetaminophen and glucosamine sulfate might be affected if both are taken together Medications for diabetes: Blood sugar levels may increase by taking glucosamine. The effect of these medicines may be reduced if you take diabetes medication with glucosamine.

What dosage should I take?

To ensure that the glucosamine has the right pharmacological effect, you should take a dose of atleast 1000mg/ day of glucosamine base, which translates to about 1500mg of Glucosamine Sulphate and 1100mg for Glucosamine Hydrochloride.

As per MHRA guidance any dose above 1178mg/day for Glucosamine base is considered to be a medicinal dosage, and should be only taken under strict guidance of a doctor.

As described above, Glucosamine is best taken combined with Chondroitin, so choose a supplement that has atleast 400mg of Chondroitin per serving along with Glucosamine.

FINAL THOUGHTS

• Glucosamine can play a vital role in the maintenance of healthy joints and bones.

• When combined with Chondroitin, Glucosamine can provide long term relief from Osteoarthritis related pain and discomfort.

 • Research suggests a dosage equivalent to around 1000mg of base glucosamine per day, which is equivalent to 1500mg of Glucosamine Sulphate or approx 1200mg of Glucosamine Hydrochloride.

• It is always recommended to contact your doctor to have a clear understanding of the type of glucosamine to use. This reduces the side effects or risks that using glucosamine would cause.

• Always look for third-party tested supplements to ensure quality because some manufacturers make unproven claims about the supplements they produce.

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