Vitamin For Joints Glucosamine

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Glucosamine is an important building block for joint health. Without it, your joints can become stiff and painful. Glucosamine is a natural compound that occurs naturally in the body, but it can also be taken as a supplement to help with joint pain. It works by encouraging production of cartilage and lubrication between bones, which helps the joints stay flexible and healthy.

In this article, we’ll discuss how glucosamine works, how much you should take, its side effects and interactions with other medications or supplements, how long it should be used for before stopping treatment altogether (and why), as well as other considerations when deciding whether or not this supplement is right for you.

Vitamin For Joints Glucosamine


Glucosamine is a natural compound found in cartilage — the tough tissue that cushions joints.

In supplement form, glucosamine is harvested from shells of shellfish or made in a lab. There are several forms of glucosamine, including glucosamine sulfate, glucosamine hydrochloride and N-acetyl glucosamine. These supplements aren’t considered interchangeable.

People use glucosamine sulfate orally to treat a painful condition caused by the inflammation, breakdown and eventual loss of cartilage (osteoarthritis).

Evidence

Research on glucosamine use for specific conditions shows:

  • Osteoarthritis. Oral use of glucosamine sulfate might provide some pain relief for people with osteoarthritis of the knee. Some research shows that it may also help slow knee joint degeneration associated with osteoarthritis. More studies are needed to determine the benefits of glucosamine sulfate supplements for osteoarthritis of the hip, spine or hand.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. Early research suggests that oral use of glucosamine hydrochloride might reduce pain related to rheumatoid arthritis. However, researchers didn’t see an improvement in inflammation or the number of painful or swollen joints.

When considering glucosamine, read product labels carefully to make sure you choose the correct form. There’s less clinical evidence to support the use of N-acetyl glucosamine in treating osteoarthritis, and more research is needed to confirm its benefits.

Generally safe

Glucosamine sulfate might provide some pain relief for people with osteoarthritis. The supplement appears to be safe and might be a helpful option for people who can’t take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). While study results are mixed, glucosamine sulfate might be worth a try.

Safety and side effects

When taken in appropriate amounts, glucosamine sulfate appears to be safe. Oral use of glucosamine sulfate can cause:

  • Nausea
  • Heartburn
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation

Other side effects may include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Skin reactions
  • Headache

Because glucosamine products might be derived from the shells of shellfish, there is concern that the supplement could cause an allergic reaction in people with shellfish allergies.

Glucosamine might worsen asthma.

There’s some concern that glucosamine might raise eye pressure. If you have glaucoma, talk to your doctor before taking glucosamine supplements.

Interactions

Possible interactions include:

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol, others). Taking glucosamine sulfate and acetaminophen together might reduce the effectiveness of both the supplement and medication.
  • Warfarin (Jantoven). Taking glucosamine alone or in combination with the supplement chondroitin might increase the effects of the anticoagulant warfarin. This can increase your risk of bleeding.

what is glucosamine used for


Glucosamine is a chemical found in the body. Glucosamine supplements are sold as glucosamine sulfate, glucosamine hydrochloride, and N-acetyl glucosamine.

Glucosamine is used by the body to make other chemicals that build tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and the fluid that surrounds joints. Joints are cushioned by the fluid and cartilage around them. Taking glucosamine might increase the cartilage and fluid around joints and/or help prevent their breakdown.

People commonly use glucosamine sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride for osteoarthritis. Glucosamine is also used for joint pain, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these other uses.

Likely Effective for

  • Osteoarthritis. Taking glucosamine sulfate by mouth for at least 4 weeks can provide some pain relief and improve function for people with knee osteoarthritis. Products that contain glucosamine hydrochloride do not seem to work as well unless they are taken in combination with other ingredients. Taking glucosamine sulfate doesn’t seem to reduce the risk of getting osteoarthritis.

There is interest in using glucosamine for a number of other purposes, but there isn’t enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.

Side Effects

When taken by mouth: Glucosamine sulfate is likely safe in most adults when used for up to 3 years. Glucosamine hydrochloride is possibly safe for most adults when used for up to 2 years. N-acetyl glucosamine is also possibly safe when used for up to 6 months. Glucosamine can cause some mild side effects including bloating, nausea, diarrhea, and constipation.

When applied to the skin: N-acetyl glucosamine is possibly safe when used for up to 10 weeks.

When given as an enema (rectally): N-acetyl glucosamine is possibly safe when used in doses of 3-4 grams daily.

Special Precautions and Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn’t enough reliable information to know if glucosamine sulfate, glucosamine hydrochloride, or N-acetyl glucosamine is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Asthma: Glucosamine might make asthma worse. Until more is known, people with asthma should be cautious about taking products that contain glucosamine.

Diabetes: There used to be some concern that glucosamine might increase blood sugar levels. But most research shows that glucosamine doesn’t increase blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.

Glaucoma: Glucosamine might increase the pressure inside the eye and could worsen glaucoma. If you have glaucoma, talk to your healthcare provider before taking glucosamine.

High cholesterol: There used to be some concern that glucosamine might increase cholesterol levels. But most research shows that glucosamine doesn’t seem to increase cholesterol levels.

High blood pressure: There used to be some concern that glucosamine might increase blood pressure. But most research shows that glucosamine does not seem to increase blood pressure.

Shellfish allergy: Glucosamine is produced from the shells of shrimp, lobster, and crabs. If you have a shellfish allergy, talk to your healthcare provider before using glucosamine.

Interactions ?

  • Warfarin (Coumadin) interacts with GLUCOSAMINEWarfarin is used to slow blood clotting. Taking glucosamine with or without chondroitin increases the effects of warfarin. This can increase the risk for serious bruising and bleeding. Don’t take glucosamine if you are taking warfarin.
  • Medications for cancer (Topoisomerase II Inhibitors) interacts with GLUCOSAMINESome medications for cancer work by decreasing how fast cancer cells can copy themselves. Glucosamine might block these medications from working. Taking glucosamine along with some medications for cancer might decrease the effectiveness of these medications.
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) interacts with GLUCOSAMINETaking glucosamine SULFATE and acetaminophen together might affect how well each works. But more information is needed to know if this interaction is a big concern.
  • Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs) interacts with GLUCOSAMINEGlucosamine might increase blood sugar levels. Taking glucosamine along with diabetes medications might reduce the effects of these medications. Monitor your blood sugar closely.

Dosing

Glucosamine sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride have most often been used by adults in doses of 1500 mg by mouth daily for up to 3 years. Speak with a healthcare provider to find out what dose might be best for a specific condition.

Keep in mind that glucosamine used in supplements often comes from the shells of shellfish. Talk to your healthcare provider before taking these supplements if you have a shellfish allergy. Also, some glucosamine products aren’t labeled correctly. In some cases, the amount of glucosamine actually in the product has varied from none to over 100% of the amount stated on the product’s label. Some products have contained glucosamine hydrochloride when glucosamine sulfate was listed on the label.

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