Sunday, 22 March 2015

Benefits of Glucosamine

Glucosamine occurs naturally and is one of the 'building blocks' of cartilage (made by combination of glucose and the amino acid glutamine by the enzyme glucosamine synthetase). Glycosaminoglycans and proteoglycans are larger molecules made from glucosamine, which in combination with proteins (such as collagen and elastin), form the extracellular matrix and the cartilage in joints. Animal models and in vitro experiments suggest that glucosamine acts at the level of the chondrocyte, both stimulating cartilage production and inhibiting degradation. The limited in vivo studies that have been done suggest that very little glucosamine taken orally actually gets into the joint. This raises the possibility of a placebo effect but does not rule out mechanisms of action at a level as yet unknown.

What is it?

Family: Nutritional supplement 
Scientific name: Glucosamine sulphate, glucosamine hydrochloride 
Other names: GS, amino monosaccharide, sulfated monosaccharide, chitosamine, D-glucosamine
Glucosamine is an amino sugar made from shellfish or prepared in the laboratory. It’s available in two forms: glucosamine sulphate and glucosamine hydrochloride. You can buy both from high-street retailers.

How does it work?

Glucosamine is found naturally in your body. It plays an important role in making glycosaminoglycans and glycoproteins, which are essential building blocks of many parts of your joints, including ligaments, tendons, cartilage and synovial fluid. It’s been suggested that the way these parts of your joint are built and maintained contributes to the development and the progression of osteoarthritis.
Animal studies have found that giving glucosamine can delay the breakdown of cartilage as well as rebuild it.

Is it safe?

Side-effects, which are usually mild and infrequent, include:
  • stomach upsets
  • constipation
  • diarrhoea
  • headaches
  • rashes.
If you’re allergic to shellfish, you should make sure that you take the shellfish-free variety.
You should also be cautious about taking glucosamine if you have diabetes. Glucosamine might increase your blood sugar level and it may mean that you need to adjust your treatment to make sure it carried on working. There are several reports of interaction between glucosamine and anti-diabetic treatments. There are also some reports of possible interaction with chemotherapy drugs and drugs that lower blood cholesterol.
Most trials used a standard dose of 500 mg of glucosamine sulphate or glucosamine hydrochloride taken three times a day.