Around one in five Americans suffers from one of many forms of arthritis, all of which can cause joint pain, aching, swelling and stiffness. While older people are more likely to suffer these symptoms, different types of arthritis can affect people of all ages. There are lots of ways you can manage the condition, including regular exercise and dietary changes, but studies suggest that some supplements are also beneficial. Learn more about how glucosamine works, and find out how this supplement could improve your symptoms.
What is glucosamine?
Glucosamine is an amino sugar that occurs naturally in shellfish, although manufacturers of glucosamine supplements prepare the material in a laboratory. Glucosamine also occurs naturally in your body and plays a vital role in the development of healthy joints, including the ligaments, tendons and synovial fluid.
What types of supplement are available?
You can buy glucosamine supplements in various forms, but the material is normally available as glucosamine sulfate or glucosamine hydrochloride. You can buy the supplement in capsule, tablet, liquid or powder forms.
The type of supplement you choose is largely about personal preference, as the daily dosage remains the same – 1,500 mg per day. However, some people prefer to use a powder or a liquid that they can mix with water, as this can help spread your intake into three divided doses. Some people find that a single 1,500 mg dose causes an upset stomach.
How effective is glucosamine?
Various studies suggest that glucosamine can effectively help ease joint pain for people with arthritis.
A 2005 review looked at 20 different studies of glucosamine and found that certain supplements helped improve joint pain, stiffness and function. The largest study completed to date examined 1,600 people with knee joint pain. One phase concluded that people with moderate-to-severe arthritis could benefit from significant pain relief when they took glucosamine with another supplement called chondoitrin.
There are other possible benefits aside from pain relief. Some studies show that the supplement can also slow joint damage. For example, a 2008 study of 300 people found that patients who used glucosamine underwent half as many joint replacement surgeries as people who did not use the supplement.
Are there any risks from taking glucosamine supplements?
You should always talk to your doctor about supplements before you start to use them. He or she can help you understand any possible side effects. Your doctor can also advise you of any possible complications that may arise if you take supplements with prescription medicines. For example, people who use blood thinners should talk to a doctor before using glucosamine.
That aside, all reported side effects are generally mild. People sometimes suffer from an upset stomach or heartburn, which you can alleviate by controlling how much you take at a time. Other side effects can include dizziness and headaches. You should consult a doctor if these effects do not subside after a short period.
People who are allergic to shellfish sometimes suffer an allergic reaction when using glucosamine. Similarly, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and children should also avoid these supplements.
Why choose glucosamine over other medicines?
Glucosamine supplements can offer pain relief for people with osteoarthritis in the knee, hip or spine. Higher levels of safety associated with glucosamine mean that the supplement is also a suitable alternative to some prescription painkillers. For example, where NSAID dependency is an issue, patients can sometimes use glucosamine as an effective alternative over a long period.
Glucosamine is a supplement that may help people who suffer from different forms of joint pain. Talk to your doctor or a company like dtchealth for more information and advice.