If you suffer from joint pain caused by osteoarthritis, then you may benefit from taking glucosamine joint supplements in addition to other arthritis remedies.
Studies on glucosamine supplements show that they not only help repair cartilage tissue to a certain extent but that they also mitigate pain from osteoarthritis.
However, these supplements were also found to work for some osteoarthritis sufferers while providing absolutely no relief to others.
For this reason, many arthritis sufferers wonder if taking these supplements is worth the investment and if there are any dangers associated with their use.
If you want to learn more about how you can use glucosamine joint supplements to treat osteoarthritic pain, then keep reading.
What is Glucosamine?
Glucosamine is a compound that naturally occurs in the human body but that is also available in supplement form to help treat arthritis symptoms. Naturally occurring glucosamine functions as a precursor for cartilage production.
However, current research also shows that glucosamine may play a role reducing inflammation and mitigating arthritic pain. Most people experience a slow decline in glucosamine production with age.
This decline could explain the greater incidence of osteoarthritis and related conditions in older adults with studies showing an increased prevalence in those over 60 years of age.
To make up for this age-related decline in glucosamine production, older adults experiencing joint pain are often advised to take glucosamine supplements.
Glucosamine supplements usually come in two variants: hydrochloride and sulfate. While both types of glucosamine show some benefits, most studies speak in favor of glucosamine sulfate.
Why People Develop Osteoarthritis?
As people age, many bodily functions tend to undergo a slow decline. This seems to be especially noticeable with the production of healthy bone and joint tissue with many older adults developing frail bones and stiff joints.
Osteoarthritis is a fairly common condition in older adults and that causes symptoms such as joint pain and stiffness. The disease is believed to be a result of normal wear and tear of the joints caused by years of repetitive use. This may explain why osteoarthritis occurs most commonly in the knee, hips, and hands.
In addition to joint overuse, the decline in healthy cartilage tissue production that happens with age also plays a role in osteoarthritis onsets. In other words, as we age, our cartilage degrades at a faster pace than it can repair itself. To make up for the higher demand for glucosamine, doctors may prescribe osteoarthritis patients glucosamine supplements.
How Do Glucosamine Supplements Work?
Although you will often see glucosamine supplements being recommended to anyone suffering from bone and joint problems, the truth is that nobody really knows how they work.
Normally, we are not able to get glucosamine from food, and the body produces this compound on its own. Nevertheless, scientists have isolated glucosamine from the shells of shellfish to make the compound available for oral use.
However, research is still debating how much of this orally-ingested glucosamine is able to actually reach the joints. Studies on the effectiveness of glucosamine in improving osteoarthritis outcomes are inconclusive.
A study published in Arthritis & Rheumatology in 2014 found that glucosamine did not improve the structure of the joints after 24 weeks of treatment.
On the other hand, a review of the research on glucosamine in osteoarthritis management concluded that whether or not glucosamine will be effective depends on the formulation, disease severity, and individual factors.
Should I Take Glucosamine Supplements To Treat Pain?
Glucosamine supplements work for some while providing no relief for others. Researchers and medical experts are still discussing if taking glucosamine joint supplements provides any relief.
Nevertheless, if you are diagnosed with osteoarthritis, chances are that you’ll be prescribed a glucosamine supplement in addition to other therapies.
In cases where you would like to rely on glucosamine alone to help mitigate arthritis pain, doctors will recommend that you discontinue the treatment if you don’t experience any improvement after 6 months of continuous use. Taking glucosamine supplements at the recommended dose of 1.500mg a day is found to be completely safe.
Studies comparing glucosamine joint supplements with ibuprofen and other painkillers found that the compound was a safer alternative to conventional pain medication.
Glucosamine is a safe, popular, and viable osteoarthritis treatment that some studies show helps with cartilage repair and pain relief. However, how exactly glucosamine joint supplements help improve osteoarthritis outcomes is not well understood.
The main reason why doctors prescribe arthritis patients with these supplements is that some clinical trials found that these supplements were effective in mitigating joint pain. But this effectiveness did not work for everyone equally.
While some people respond well to glucosamine supplements, others found that they provide no relief whatsoever.
Considering that these supplements are completely safe and side-effect free, taking them to see if they will help ease your arthritis symptoms can prove to be a viable alternative to conventional arthritis medication.