What is Glucosamine?
Glucosamine is a substance found naturally in the body, a form of amino sugar that is thought to play a role in how cartilage is made and repaired. Cartilage is the cushioning material located between the bones, also called our joints. For many people, and as we age, the cartilage—especially in the knees—wears down, or becomes inflamed, causing painful swelling and, eventually, a condition known as osteoarthritis. Glucosamine looks very promising as an effective pain reliever for joint pain, as an alternative to aspirin and ibuprofen, and possibly as a preventive measure in strengthening our joints and cartilage.
Some doctors and researchers think that Glucosamine might offer similar benefits to people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, spinal disc degeneration, tendonitis, bursitis, and some sports injuries. Some speculation also exists that Glucosamine might play a preemptive role in eliminating the development of osteoarthritis in people over the age of 40. The preliminary results are promising enough that a long-term study is underway by the National Institute of Arthritis & Musculoskeletal & Skin Diseases and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
How does Glucosamine work?
Glucosamine is a natural sugar that your body produces, and that is found in certain foods. Glucosamine aids in the production, maintenance, and repair of cartilage, the material found between our bones, and that keeps them from rubbing together. Glucosamine helps in the production of glycosaminoglycans and proteoglycans, two of the building blocks of cartilage. If there isn't enough Glucosamine in your body, the cartilage begins to degenerate, crack, and may disappear altogether. That's when knee joints begin to swell, stiffen, and walking becomes painful and, in extreme cases, no longer possible.
How do I make the most out of Glucosamine?
Glucosamine needs to be taken as a supplement. The recommended dosage is 1,500 mg daily, taken three times a day in doses of 500 mg each.
Glucosamine is made from the shells of crab, shrimp and other shellfish, so if you have allergies you cannot take this supplement. Pregnant women are also advised against taking this supplement. But, bottom line: Glucosamine is proving to be a safe and effective treatment for joint pain, swelling, and tenderness.
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Minerals: An Overview