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Glucosamine and Our Joints!
August 18, 2003

Aching knees aren't fun, as even us weekend amateur athletes will attest too. So, while I rarely recommend supplements of this type, glucosamine might be worth our try. A recent study presented by the American college of Rheumatology concurs with previous studies that the supplement Glucosamine may help prevent and/or lessen the progression of Osteoarthritis. In this study, it was found that those participants taking the supplement showed less degeneration of cartilage with improved inflammatory symptoms, while those not taking the supplement did not.

Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis affects people of all ages. In older adults its symptoms are commonly caused by the wear and tear of cartilage in our joints over time, and in younger people its symptoms can be the result of the wear and tear of cartilage due to sports and high physical activity. Glucosamine may stimulate cartilage cells to produce new cells, once previously thought to not occur. Many of us are familiar with the symptoms of joint inflammation such as stiffness, swelling, and mild to severe pain.

The recommended dosage and the dosage used in this study was 1500 mg. per day, and the study was conducted over a 3 year period. Glucosamine is a compound formed by combining an amino acid and a sugar (glutamine and glucose).The glutamine is extracted from shellfish shells (caution for those who have shellfish allergies). Other side effects occasionally reported are gastrointestinal discomfort, and please note that there are no long term studies on safety. Studies also show that Glucosamine is more effective when combined with another supplement called Chrondroitin Sulfate, another compound made from sugars (remember, sugar is not an enemy). The typical dosage recommended is 1200 mg per day in combination with Glucosamine. Studies also indicate that several months may be needed for symptoms to improve, and not all people show improvement in symptoms. Note, that this means regular daily dosages.

So, the questions remain, does it work and of course, is it safe? As usual, more studies are under way, but we might want to investigate taking these supplements if we suffer from joint pain (let's not self-diagnose either!). After all, we do want to keep exercising (good for our joints too!).

Of course, please seek the advice of your doctor before taking any supplements especially when taking other medications, since we all need to remember that supplements are drugs too (Diabetic? Please consult with your doctor since these supplements contain fast absorbing sugar although in small amounts)!

Here's to our health!

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All information is for informational purposes only, and not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. No statements have been evaluated by the FDA. We always suggest talking to your physician concerning any questions you may have about supplement/drug interactions.