Glucosamine - Arthritis Miracle Cure?
The Benefits of Glucosamine
Arthritis is caused by the degeneration and deterioration of the cartilage layer surrounding the joints. This causes the bones to rub against each other, causing discomfort, pain and deformity of the bones. Glucosamine is naturally produced by the body, but the body's ability to produce it diminishes as we age. As Glucosamine is essential in promoting cartilage growth and repair, the cartilage in the weight bearing joints starts to break down. This can lead to arthritis developing.
Glucosamine works by stimulating the body's natural production of the proteins which rebuild and replenish the damaged cartilage. This means that the Glucosamine is treating the cause of arthritis rather than just the symptoms. As it is a natural product, any side effects from taking Glucosamine are much milder than those caused by other medications.
It is often marketed as Glucosamine Sulphate, and daily recommended doses vary with each manufacturer. As it can take some time to be absorbed into the system you may need to take it for 1- 3 months before you start seeing the benefits. Glucosamine is more effective when taken in liquid form, as it is absorbed faster by the body.
Taking Glucosamine supplements, when taken early enough, can also help to prevent joint conditions such as arthritis by enabling the body to repair cartilage on an ongoing basis and maintain joint strength and function.
Can Glucosamine Be Harmful?
Glucosamine is classed as a nutritional supplement rather than herbal medication. As stated above, there are less likely to be any side effects from taking it.
Although it is generally considered to be safe, there are a few points to be aware of; Glucosamine is generally not recommended for diabetics, as it is a carbohydrate and can cause fluctuations in insulin levels.
If you are taking blood thinning medication such as Warfarin, you should be wary of taking Glucosamine as there is some evidence of a risk of an increase in bleeding.
Individuals with shellfish allergies should be aware that most Glucosamine on the market is derived from shellfish, although some companies now offer corn derived Glucosamine. If you are allergic to shellfish then taking Glucosamine may cause a reaction.
It is also recommended that pregnant or breast feeding women do not take Glucosamine; there is no evidence to suggest that it would be harmful, but there is not yet sufficient evidence to guarantee 100% safety.
If you are considering taking Glucosamine or any other natural product, see your doctor and discuss this with him.
So- Is Glucosamine a Miracle Cure?
There have been many trials and studies on the effects and benefits of taking Glucosamine to relieve and even cure arthritis symptoms. Some of these tests have shown mixed results; for example Glucosamine has been found to be beneficial in the treatment of arthritis in the knee, but not so effective in treating arthritis in the hip. However, a lot of the studies were done on people experiencing relatively mild amounts of pain, so the room for improvement was not that great.
It should not be seen as a miracle cure, but over a period of time it can help in the regeneration of cartilage and improve joint function. Although it is not a pain killer, it has been shown to be effective in relieving pain in many individuals with arthritis. However, there are also individuals who have reported no benefits from taking Glucosamine.
Glucosamine can also help to prevent the cartilage damage caused by wear and tear which can lead to arthritis developing.
So, the jury is still very much out, but as it is a natural product with relatively few side effects, it would seem that it is worth trying it with your doctor's approval.