Glucosamine is a compound that occurs naturally in the human body and is classified as an amino sugar. It is located in gel-like protective cartilage layers that prevent joints from hitting each other and friction. It is taken as a nutritional supplement because it is not found naturally in foods. Supplements are mostly produced in the laboratory from the shells of shellfish such as shrimp, crab, and lobster. Although more studies are needed on the benefits of glucosamine, especially used in the treatment and protection of bone and joint diseases, it is recommended for people over middle age.
What is glucosamine?
Glucosamine-Supplement is a gel tissue in cartilages that prevents joints from rubbing against each other. Their supplements are usually produced from shellfish shells. It can also be synthesized in vitro from glucose and amino acid glutamine. It exists in forms such as glucosamine sulfate, glucosamine hydrochloride, and n-acetyl glucosamine and cannot replace any of these.
People; He uses oral glucosamine sulfate supplements to relieve painful conditions caused by infection, loss of cartilage ( osteoarthritis ), and rupture. Having anti-inflammatory properties, the supplement helps regenerate cartilage. It can be used orally, as a cream or ointment. ( 1 )
Glucosamine is also vital for gut health. It has an important place in the health of the microbiome, which plays a role in everything from chronic inflammation to disease development. According to a study conducted in Australia; It has shown that supplementing the body with glucosamine sulfate can alter the composition of beneficial bacteria in the intestines. This, in turn, can have broad effects on health and immunity. ( 2 )
Glucosamine in most people without any side effects or risks; It can be used safely for a long time to combat signs of aging and improve quality of life.
What does glucosamine do?
Diseases that glucosamine helps to treat:
- Age-related joint and bone diseases: Glucosamine secreted by the body decreases with age. Therefore, reinforcement is taken orally, joint and bone diseases, in particular, osteoarthritis (arthritis) and bone resorption would be beneficial in the treatment of diseases such as. ( 2 )
- Restless bowel syndrome: Some studies show that glucosamine can help regulate bowel movements in patients with irritable bowel syndrome.
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS): Some studies show that n-acetyl glucosamine can delay the onset or progression of MS symptoms. It is also commonly used to treat inflammation in the body.
- Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ): TMJ is a problem that occurs in the temporomandibular joint located in the jaw. TMJ, which affects adults and middle-aged people, affects the joint that connects the jaw to the skull and causes jaw pain. Unlike normal, individuals with temporomandibular joint dysfunction cannot move their heads up or down or left and right without pain. The use of glucosamine in TMJ patients helps alleviate the disease, reduce pain and provide faster treatment. ( 3 )
- Interstitial cystitis: Interstitial cystitis occurs due to the deficiency of glycosaminoglycan, one of the structural components of glucosamine. For this reason, regular supplements can facilitate the treatment of interstitial cystitis. ( 4 )
What are the benefits of glucosamine?
Glucosamine, together with a lubricating fluid called synovial fluid, helps joints move freely over each other. It minimizes friction between joints and allows bones to move painlessly. For this reason, it is used regularly by many athletes.
In addition to being a powerful anti-inflammatory, it also has an anti-aging effect. It can reduce wrinkles and prevent age-related spots.
Effect of glucosamine on osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, has a rapidly progressing cartilage glycosaminoglycan degeneration. Supplements are taken for this reason; can help reduce pain in patients with knee, hip, and spine osteoarthritis. It shows high rates of positive results, especially when used in patients with knee osteoarthritis.
According to a 6-year study, adults with knee osteoarthritis were found to have slower cartilage loss when they regularly took glucosamine and chondroitin.
Most of the research done on glucosamine has specifically placed the benefits of glucosamine sulfate, the natural chemical found in the human body. Researchers believe that using glucosamine supplements or obtaining this component from natural sources such as bone broth can increase the amount of cartilage and synovial fluid to help prevent joint destruction and relieve pain. ( 5 )
There is no current recommended daily dose for glucosamine, but most people consume 500-1500 mg of glucosamine daily alone or in combination with sulfate, omega-3, or MSM supplements. This dose is usually used to help the following situations:
- Helping to reverse low inflammation and autoimmune reactions
- Maintaining joint health
- Reduce joint pain and tenderness
- Protecting and repairing the intestinal lining
- Fighting against irritation to the stomach, bladder, and intestines
- Treating inflammatory bowel disease and leaky gut syndrome
- Rebuilding tissues and stronger bones following fractures or injuries
The most commonly recommended glucosamine type; is the ‘glucosamine sulfate’ form. Sulfate plays an important role in joint health by helping the body produce cartilage. Glucosamine sulfate has also been found to provide greater potency than other forms of glucosamine, including glucosamine hydrochloride or N-acetyl glucosamine.
How is it used?
There is no standard dose for glucosamine use. The appropriate dose for each patient is determined by his doctor. Especially in the treatment of osteoarthritis, it can be used as 1500 mg once a day, 750 mg twice a day, or 500 mg three times a day.
The use of supplements should be paused every 3 months for 3 months. If continuity is required after the first 3 months of use, it should be paused for 3 months and reused.
There are 3 common types of glucosamine found in various foods:
Glucosamine sulfate is the type found in the human body and used most in clinical trials. Most studies show that this supplement supports joint health and helps slow the breakdown of fluid between joints.
Glucosamine sulfate is mostly obtained from the shells of shellfish such as shrimp, crab, lobster, but there are also types that are synthesized in vitro for people who are allergic to seafood or do not consume seafood.
Glucosamine hydrochloride binds to chloride molecules. Unlike sulfate, it is not usually produced from shellfish, but it also has positive effects on joint health. This form of glucosamine, vegetarians, vegan s and those who consume seafood is a good alternative for individuals who are allergic to seafood. ( 6 )
N-acetyl glucosamine, which can be used to support joint tissue like other types, can also be used as an anti-aging ingredient for the skin. There are also studies showing that it is beneficial for digestive health. ( 7 )
Glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM
Just like glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate is a natural component found in cartilage. Chondroitin, a complex carbohydrate that helps cartilage to hold water, when combined with glucosamine, supports joint cushions, stabilizes the lubrication in the joints, and increases joint mobility. ( 8 )
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a naturally occurring form of sulfur that helps support muscles and tendons in the body. Chondroitin, glucosamine, and MSM are a combination of drugs used as an adjunct in alternative medicine, thought to be effective in the treatment of arthritis, exercise-induced muscle damage, and other joint disorders.
It is not known exactly how effective it is in treating any medical condition. More research is needed on this. This product, which is generally sold as a herbal supplement, should not be used instead of medications recommended by the doctor.
What foods are glucosamine found in?
Glucosamine sulfate supplements are often produced from shellfish shells. It is not found naturally in foods. Therefore, it is used as a supplement.
Side effects and harms
Glucosamine sulfate is a very safe ingredient when taken in the proper amount. However, some of the side effects that may be caused by misuse and overuse are:
Although in low proportions, it is likely to worsen asthma and fluctuate blood sugar for diabetics. Diabetes and asthma patients should consult their doctor before using it. Also, talk to your doctor if you are allergic to shellfish.
Glucosamine drug interaction
Blood thinners: Glucosamine, Warfarin (Coumadin) can cause bleeding or bruising when taken with blood thinners. Therefore, they should not be used together.
Glucosamine may also reduce the effectiveness of some medications:
- Acetaminophen: Tylenol
- Some chemotherapy drugs: Doxorubicin, etoposide, teniposide, etc.
- Diabetes medications: Glimepiride, glyburide, insulin , pioglitazone and rosiglitazone.