Glucosamine for healthy joints
Glucosamine is a naturally occurring substance in the body and is one of the key building blocks of mucopolysaccharides such as glucosaminoglycans (GAGs) and proteoglycans that form the framework of cartilage. Cartilage serves as a cushion between bones allowing joints to move smoothly without friction or pain.
Supplemental glucosamine is an important substance that has been shown to assist in the maintenance of healthy joints. It is normally derived from chitin found in the shells of crustaceans such as crabs, prawns and lobsters. Vegetarian Glucosamine is also available, an alternative for those allergic to shellfish. Vegetarian sources of glucosamine are derived from Aspergillus niger, a fungus that has an outer shell rich in chitin similar to what is found in crustacean shells.
Glucosamine may be of benefit for mild osteoarthritis, a condition where cartilage begins to breakdown causing pain, stiffness and loss of mobility in the affected joints. Glucosamine sulfate supplementation may help relief of pain, improve joint function and reduce stiffness associated with mild osteoarthritis.1
Glucosamine and Chondroitin
Whilst glucosamine appears to be beneficial on its own, it is often combined with substances such as chondroitin for added benefit. Chondroitin sulfate is an important glycosaminoglycan (GAG) found in joint cartilage.
Chondroitin sulfate may assist in reducing the rate of cartilage wear and increase joint mobility of the knee associated with mild osteoarthritis. Chondroitin sulfate may also help relieve knee or joint pain associated with mild osteoarthritis and temporarily relieve pain in people with moderate to severe knee pain due to mild osteoarthritis [iii]
- Pavelka K, Gatterova J, Olejarova M, et al. Glucosamine sulfate use and delay of progression of knee osteoarthritis. Archives of internal medicine. 2002; 162 (18): 2113-2123
- Clegg, D.O., et al., Glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and the two in combination for painful knee osteoarthritis. N Engl J Med. 2006. 354(8): 795-808.
- Qiu, G. X., X. S. Weng, et al. A multi-central, randomized, controlled clinical trial of glucosamine hydrochloride/sulfate in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis. Zhonghua Yi Xue Za Zhi.2005; 85(43): 3067-70.