Glucosamine is an amino sugar molecule that can be naturally produced in the body. The main function of glucosamine on joints is to stimulate the manufacture of molecules known as glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) a key structural component of cartilage. It appears that as some people age, they lose the ability to manufacture sufficient levels of glucosamine. The result is that cartilage loses its ability to act as a shock absorber.
The body’s inability to manufacture sufficient amounts of glucosamine has been suggested to be the major factor leading to osteoarthritis. That’s why supplementing your diet with glucosamine is vitally important.
Glucosamine (sulfate) has been the subject of more than 300 scientific investigations and over 20 double blind clinical studies. The benefits of glucosamine sulfate in the treatment of osteoarthritis are impressive. In one of the more recent studies comparing glucosamine sulfate to a placebo, 252 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee were given either a placebo or 500mg of glucosamine sulfate three times daily for four weeks. Glucosamine sulfate was significantly effective in improving pain and movement after only four weeks of use. Previous studies have shown that the longer glucosamine sulfate is used the more obvious the therapeutic benefit. These results are consistent with other double blind studies versus a placebo.
Glucosamine sulfate was also shown to produce better results than NSAID drugs in relieving the pain and inflammation of osteoarthritis despite the fact that glucosamine sulfate exhibits very little direct anti inflammatory effect and no direct analgesic or pain relieving effects. While NSAIDs offer purely symptomatic relief and may actually promote the disease process, glucosamine sulfate appears to address the cause of osteoarthritis. By treating the root of the problem through actually building joint cartilage, glucosamine sulfate not only improves the symptoms, including pain, it also helps the body repair damaged joints. The clinical effect is impressive, especially when glucosamine sulfate’s safety and lack of side effects is considered.
Some studies however show glucosamine is more likely to produce effective results when taken with other nutrients such as MSM, chondroitin and other glyconutrient food sources such as kelp, aloe vera and spirulina.
With glucosamine sulfate supplementation, most people will experience significant improvement within two to eight weeks. However, the longer it is used the more obvious the results. The effects are cumulative and long lasting.