Glucosamine is a natural substance found in the fluid around the joints. It is found naturally in animal bones, bone marrow, oysters and mushrooms. Glucosamine plays a very important role in the construction of cartilage and is usually used as a supplement for people suffering from arthritis, especially osteoarthritis. Glucosamine, especially glucosamine sulfate , is removed from crustaceans and placed in dietary supplements. This material can also be produced in the laboratory.
What is glucosamine?
Glucosamine comes in many forms. These forms are:
- Glucosamine Sulfate
- Glucosamine Hydrochloride
Although these three substances are similar, they will not have the same effects on the body. Most studies that have tested the potential for these substances on the health of the body have focused on glucosamine sulfate. Dietary supplements containing glucosamine usually include other substances such as chondroitin sulfate, MSM or shark cartilage. Although some people believe that these compounds can be useful to them, there is no scientific evidence to support this. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) adds that skin creams containing glucosamine can be helpful for joint pain because it contains other substances that have soothing properties. There is no evidence that glucosamine is absorbed through the skin. The National Institutes of Health also states that some products that contain glucosamine sulfate do not contain substances that are labeled. Experiments show that these products have a glucosamine content of 0 to 100%. In other tests (when the product label claimed to contain glucosamine hydrochloride) it was found that the product contained glucosamine sulfate.
Why do people take glucosamine supplements?
According to the National Center for Alternative and Complementary Therapies, studies show that 17.7 percent of adults in the United States take some form of dietary supplement. Of these, 19.9% take glucosamine supplements . Glucosamine supplements are commonly used by people with osteoarthritis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and ulcerative colitis.
Various scientific studies show that glucosamine supplements may help patients with osteoarthritis. Studies have also found that glucosamine can properly:
- Reduce the pain associated with osteoarthritis.
- Improve the function of patients with high pain in their knees or hips.
- Reduce stiffness
- Reduce joint inflammation
- Provide continuous relief for the patient after three months of use and discontinuation.
However, various studies show that glucosamine along with chondroitin sulfate does not significantly help relieve osteoarthritis pain. However, among the few patients studied in this study, those with moderate to severe pain found significant relief from these substances.
In 2008, researchers conducted a two-year study in the United States. The results show that glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate (together or alone) did not have better results in reducing cartilage destruction in knee osteoarthritis than placebo. However, people who have used the placebo method experience less cartilage destruction and loss. Most studies show that if you have osteoarthritis and your symptoms are moderate to severe, taking glucosamine or a combination of glucosamine with chondroitin sulfate may be helpful, otherwise it will not be better than placebo.
Scientists at the University of California have found that supplements containing N-acetylglucosamine suppress the destructive autoimmune response that occurs in the disease. Researchers explain that N-acetylglucosamine inhibits the growth and function of abnormal T cells. “This sugar-based supplement corrects a genetic defect that stimulates cells to attack the body,” says Dr. Demetriou. This has made this approach useful for treating patients with multiple sclerosis. The researchers used laboratory mice with MS-like disease. The researchers found that abnormal T cells stopped growing and functioning when mice with weak legs used N-acetylglucosamine. A research team from Jefferson School of Medicine has found that glucosamine can delay the symptoms of MS.
Glucosamine is also used for other conditions and diseases. However, various studies show that this substance is not useful for treating some diseases and can even make the condition worse. From the list below, the only case in which there is a positive study of glucosamine outcomes is the treatment of temporomandibular joint problems:
- Sports Injuries: According to studies, to date there is no evidence to support or rule out the effect of this substance on sports injuries.
- Chronic back pain: A study published in BMJ shows that the benefits of glucosamine for reducing back pain are not proven due to the poor quality of existing studies.
- Temporomandibular joint problems: Studies show that glucosamine and ibuprofen reduce pain levels in patients with temporomandibular joint problems. In the studied subgroup, glucosamine had a very large effect on reducing pain produced during various functions and activities.
- Venous insufficiency: There is no scientific study on the recommendation or rejection of glucosamine for renal insufficiency.
- Allergies: Although most people use glucosamine to prevent allergies, various studies have warned of possible allergic reactions in some people, especially those who are allergic to crustaceans. Myoclinic warns that glucosamine, made from crustaceans, can cause allergies in some people.
- Name: In fact, studies have warned that glucosamine should be used with caution in patients with the name.
According to a study by the National Institutes of Health, glucosamine will be safe for adults if used properly. The NIH adds that some mild side effects, including the following, may occur after taking glucosamine:
- Skin reactions
Pregnancy and lactation: No one knows whether this substance is safe or not in pregnant or lactating women. To date, scientific studies have not yielded the same results. Therefore, it is recommended that women do not take glucosamine during pregnancy or lactation.
Asthma: Numerous medical journals have warned that glucosamine may cause asthma attacks in these people. A report has linked asthma to glucosamine use.
Diabetes: Some early studies have shown that glucosamine can raise blood glucose levels in people with diabetes. Some studies have backfired. This suggests that glucosamine is unlikely to have an effect on blood sugar levels in diabetics.
Oysters Allergy: Some glucosamine-containing products are made from oyster shells. People who are allergic to oysters should be careful about consuming it. However, the National Institutes of Health believes that no allergic reactions have been observed after taking glucosamine.