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Glucosamine for joints

By Wai Pang. Graphic Designer  Friday 15th April, 2016

Glucosamine for joints

Glucosamine supplements have become extremely popular natural remedies to relieve common joint injuries or ailments such as arthritis. In fact, glucosamine is now the third biggest selling supplement in the UK, with nearly £68 million spent on it per year. 

How does Glucosamine work? 

Glucosamine is a natural compound that helps to maintain the integral structure of cartilage; the spongy tissue that cushions bones at your joints. It also assists in repairing and lubricating joints, and so can improve flexibility and mobility. As the body ages, the gradual ‘wear and tear’ causes joint cartilage to become stiff and thin, so the body needs more of the joints building blocks such as glucosamine to renew and repair what is lost. 

Benefits of Glucosamine

  • Builds and strengthens cartilage 
  • Supports joint mobility 
  • Helps to maintain connective tissues 
  • Helps to improve the flexibility of joints 
  • Assists in lubricating the joints 
  • Assists in repairing damaged joints 

Glucosamine is used by a wide range of people, from athletes and gym goes to adults with joint injuries or arthritis.  It doesn’t work as an instant pain reliever. Instead, it needs to be taken over time to stimulate the production of cartilage-building proteins and the regeneration of joint tissues. 

But unlike traditional painkillers that simply work by blocking pain signals, glucosamine may actually improve the underlying condition and reduce the need for painkillers altogether. Many people report benefits after around twelve weeks of daily supplementation. 

A large-scale three-year study found that daily glucosamine supplementation reduced joint pain and stiffness associated with osteoarthritis by 25%. X-rays also showed that patients taking glucosamine experienced 9% less cartilage reduction between knee joints. 

Some of the findings have been mixed however. While several studies have found that glucosamine significantly improves pain and range of movement, other studies have found glucosamine to have little to no benefit. So it appears that glucosamine is more effective for some people than it is for others, the reason for which is not yet clear. 

Glucosamine has been consistently shown to have an excellent safety record so may be worth trying as an alternative to prescription painkillers that sometimes carry unpleasant side effects. 

How to take Glucosamine? 

Unfortunately, there are no food sources of glucosamine so it needs to be consumed in supplement form. There are several types of glucosamine supplements available, with the most commonly used being glucosamine sulphate (2KCl) and glucosamine hydrochloride (HCl). 

Glucosamine sulphate (2KCl) is harvested from the shells of crustaceans and has most often been used in clinical trials. Glucosamine hydrochloride (HCl) is a vegetarian alternative sourced from maize that is safe for those with shellfish allergies. Optimum doses vary between 1000mg and 3000mg daily depending on the severity of symptoms. 

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