Glucosamine is a main part of joint cartilage, prompting scientists to investigate if taking it as a supplement will help with arthritis and joint pain.
Claims indicate that glucosamine can slow the reduction of cartilage in joints and lessen pain in patients with osteoarthritis as well as help with mobility, the Arthritis Foundation reported
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In the body, glucosamine is an amino acid that can repair cartilage and maintain its health. It also lubricates joints and helps cartilage to keep hold of water.
Over time, however, glucosamine decreases as the body ages, WebMD reported
. This leads to a slow corrosion of the joint.
Studies have shown mixed results on glucosamine supplements, though overall glucosamine seems to have reduced joint pain and benefited mobility, according to the foundation.
The glucosamine sulfate supplement has done particularly well in individuals with mild to moderate osteoarthritis in their knees, WebMD notes.
According to the Mayo Clinic
, trials that have questioned the credibility of glucosamine’s effectiveness were not done with glucosamine sulfate or involved severe cases of osteoarthritis.
The recommend dosage from the foundation is 1,500 mg per day in capsules, tablets, liquid, or powder. Though because glucosamine may cause an upset stomach or nausea, it is suggested it is taken in three smaller amounts throughout the day.
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According to the Arthritis Foundation, glucosamine comes from shells of crustaceans and vegetables. Those who have allergies to shellfish should avoid taking it.
One side effect of glucosamine for those with glaucoma or hypertension is increased eye pressure, according to the foundation.
Other unintended effects from the drug tend to be mild, though individuals should check with their doctor about possible interactions it could have with other drugs they are taking, WebMD reported.
In particular, those with diabetes should be careful when taking glucosamine as it could increase blood sugar levels. Reports of the drug interacting with anti-diabetic medications have occurred as well, according to Arthritis Research UK.
It is recommended that women who are breastfeeding or pregnant and children do not take glucosamine because of uncertainty over its safety, according to WebMD.
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