Megan Johnson McCullough –Glucosamine is a compound found in our cartilage, which is the material that cushions our joints. It is naturally found in our body, but when the body might call for more, it can be taken in supplement form. When taken in supplement form, this substance is actually derived from the shells of shellfish. The most common supplement form is glucosamine sulfate which helps with inflammation of the joints that can be painful due to the loss and breakdown of cartilage. With age, comes the loss of cartilage and gradual breakdown of the joints. Glucosamine might possibly increase the cartilage or help the continued breakdown of cartilage, or both. It is a sugar protein. We are not able to obtain glucosamine from our diet. Certain conditions such as osteoarthritis benefit from this sulfate form to help alleviate pain in the knees, hips, or spine. For those with rheumatoid arthritis, glucosamine hydrochloride can help reduce pain. The third type, N-acetyl glucosamine, can help with osteoarthritis and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It is always important to read product labels and to consult a doctor to inquire about which type is appropriate for your symptoms.
Glucosamine can be an alternative to steroid type drugs and those who are not able to take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). Glucosamine sulfate, although not scientifically proven, has been known to help low back pain, asthma, allergies, and different sports injuries in addition to rheumatoid arthritis.
In general, glucosamine is considered safe. Possible side effects include headache, upset stomach, heartburn, and drowsiness. One should be careful if they have an allergy to shellfish. It is typically taken in pill form and the dosage depends on the label and what a doctor might recommend. It can also be used as a topical cream. There are also injections that can be performed. It may take up to 8 weeks of taking the supplement before improvement occurs.
As we age, the damage from years past can start to catch up. Aches and pains of the joints start to become a harsh reality. For some, this is so painful that nights can be sleepless and physical activity is unbearable. This transpires to turning to a sedentary lifestyle with other associated heath risks. When the body is not able to control pain, seeking help becomes needed. Supplements such as glucosamine that are considered generally harmless can be a good solution to turn to. Taking supplements and their success rate varies from person to person, but is a good leeway to avoid surgery, injections, and other more serious treatments. Most general health stores carry glucosamine but it is always important to consult a doctor to be sure you are meeting dosage requirements, will not have interactions with other medications, and to avoid an possible risky side effects.