In the UK approximately 6 million people suffer from osteoarthritis; this includes 1 in 2 people over the age of 80. The first signs of joint degeneration are stiff joints (especially in the morning), swelling, pain or recurring injury.
Glucosamine is a substance found naturally in the body, where it helps to support the smooth working of the joints and connective tissues. Many people believe that taking glucosamine supplements can help the body maintain healthy cartilage and joint tissue, and reduce the progressive damage caused by arthritis. As a result, glucosamine is a base ingredient for many joint supplements around the world to help ease joint pain, in particular symptoms associated with osteoarthritis.
What is Glucosamine?
Glucosamine is an amino sugar made from glucose and the amino acid glutamine. In the body glucosamine produces glycosaminoglycans (GAG’s), which are the basic building blocks of joint cartilage, joint fluid and connective tissues.
Many experts believe that glucosamine helps to stimulate the building of connective tissues, and encourages them to repair themselves. Cartilage is the cushion that surrounds each joint. As glucosamine supplies decrease, the cartilage becomes less effective at renewing itself.
What are the benefits of glucosamine?
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease of the joints that is often caused by ‘wear and tear’ of the cartilage over time, or by an injury to the joint. Osteoarthritis causes pain, inflammation and stiffness in the joints as they lose their elasticity. Osteoarthritis can not be cured, but there is evidence to suggest that the degeneration of joints can be delayed, and the pain associated with it can be reduced. Many experts believe glucosamine is likely effective in the treatment of osteoarthritis.
There is good evidence from clinical trials to support the use of glucosamine sulphate in the treatment of osteoarthritis, in particular knee osteoarthritis. Comprehensive meta-analysis released in 2003 showed that glucosamine is effective in relieving osteoarthritis symptoms by increasing the levels of glucosamine present in the blood and synovial fluid and reducing pain and improving the structure of joints. Most of the studies used in this meta-analysis used 1500mg of glucosamine per day as a therapeutic dose.
In supplement form glucosamine is often combined with chondroitin as studies show that they are more effective when taken in combination. Chondroitin is a glycosaminoglycan derived from articular cartilage. Experts suggest that it helps to facilitate the body’s absorption of glucosamine.
There is also evidence to suggest that glucosamine sulphate may benefit sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel conditions. However, so far this research is limited and more scientific evidence is required to confirm these early findings.
What type of glucosamine is best?
Few foods naturally contain beneficial levels of glucosamine. For this reason it is popularly taken in supplement form. There are different types of glucosamine available; the two most common are glucosamine sulphate 2KCI and glucosamine hydrochloride HCI.
The most proven and popular type of glucosamine is glucosamine sulphate 2KCI, which is taken from the exoskeletons (outer shell) of shellfish. Studies support the use of glucosamine in alleviating knee osteoarthritis. The 2KCI stands for potassium chloride, which is added to stabilise the glucosamine and prevent the breakdown of glucosamine when exposed to air or moisture.
In contrast, the benefits of glucosamine hydrochloride HCI have not been conclusively established. This form of glucosamine is required to undergo a change in order to be absorbed by the body – the hydrochloride needs to be removed and sulphur added.
Glucosamine sulphate has an excellent safety record, with no serious side effects reported (so far, over 3000 participants have been involved in various studies). Experts recommend a dosage of 1500mg to 2000mg per day. However, glucosamine sulphate should be avoided by people with allergies to shellfish.
Vegetarian options are also available, which are made from maize starch. These 100% natural vegetarian glucosamine supplements are suitable for those with allergies to shellfish.
Who is most at risk of a glucosamine deficiency?
The body’s natural production of glucosamine reduces with age and this means that our joints can no longer renew connective tissues as effectively. It is also common for the joints to become stiffer and less flexible. As a result, ageing joints are more at risk of ‘wear and tear’ of the joint cartilage.
Injury can also accelerate the ‘wear and tear’ of cartilage. This is caused by excess stress from high-impact exercises or falls. The body’s inflammatory response to an injured joint can actually delay healing and cause further damage. This is because the inflammation around an injured joint can reduce synovial fluid and glucosamine production. This commonly affects weight bearing joints such as the knees and hip.
Why choose Simply Supplements glucosamine?
At Simply Supplements our range of glucosamine supplements all contain the high quality glucosamine sulphate 2KCI as this is the most proven form.
All our glucosamine supplements are manufactured here in the UK to GMP and EU standards to guarantee the quality of each and every product.
Have you ever tried glucosamine? We would love to hear your thoughts. Please leave your comments below.
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