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Many of us have heard of, and indeed already take glucosamine as a supplement. I am certainly a fan and have been taking it for many years. Whether it’s been the reason why I’ve been running for over 40-years – who knows! However, something is working. So, what is glucosamine and how does it work?
In this article I’m going to tell you how to use glucosamine correctly – the dosage – and also give you the FACTS about this amazing wonder drug. Many people are not using glucosamine to its optimum benefits, so I hope you find this information useful and it gives you the confidence to try it.
What is glucosamine?
Glucosamine is neither a vitamin or a mineral – it is an amino acid sugar. They are used to synthesise proteins and lipids (a type of healthy fat) naturally in the body – and these are used as the natural building blocks of joint cartilage, synovial joint fluid, ligaments, tendons and surrounding structures. This is why glucosamine is so essential for joint pain and arthritis sufferers, and for those of us who use it as a preventative supplement.
A 2005 Cochrane review of 20 randomised controlled trials demonstrated the effectiveness of Glucosamine in the reduction of pain and improvement of joint function in osteoarthritis and also demonstrated its safety. The theory is that supplying our bodies with more of these natural building blocks might give it what it needs to make the repairs necessary in and around our joints. The great news is that glucosamine is gathered naturally from the environment before being carefully processed into glucosamine for our safe consumption. It is produced commercially by the hydrolysis of crustacean exoskeletons or, less commonly, by fermentation of a grain such as corn or wheat.
Who should take glucosamine?
Glucosamine is undoubtedly a supplement you should be taking if you are suffering from joint pain, have any form of arthritis, chronic pain syndrome or overuse sports injury – or merely want to protect your joints for the future. Recent research also suggests that it might help in bone repair – so if you have recently broken a bone, then glucosamine will help in the remodelling and repair process.
It has also been reported to help with stomach and gastrointestinal tract issues like leaky gut, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, or any type inflammatory bowel or digestive issue. This is because glucosamine not only helps to maintain joint health but has some evidence for being an anti-inflammatory agent to induce pain relief in many conditions.
Glucosamine may also increase the production of collagen in damaged cartilage and has been used to speed up the healing of ligament and tendon injuries. It is therefore often recommended by practitioners to patients undergoing musculoskeletal treatment to form part of a successful treatment protocol. There is an increasing school of thought and one that I subscribe to that we should be treating joint pain both externally and internally – with supplements like glucosamine and omega 3 Etc.
When it comes to the evidence around supplements – there is masses of world-wide anecdotal evidence of their effectiveness. However, there is a lack of extensive scientific research to back up the claims. The fact is there isn't enough funding available for large-scale independent trials.
With such a massive global market, there's plenty of money being made by big companies - and that's problem number one. Commercially funded trials of products are a well-known issue in medicine, and in the case of glucosamine studies, it seems that those that are commercially funded turn out to be more likely to show a positive result than those done independently.
Even putting aside industry-funded studies, though, there have been a lot of decent trials done on various forms of glucosamine compared with pretty much anything you might consider an alternative - painkillers, exercise, other drugs... and placebo. Put in another way – would you rather take a natural anti-inflammatory like glucosamine for a human-made chemical painkiller some of which that have undesirable side effect. Simple! Give me glucosamine any day!
What dose should I take?
Regarding dose, like all supplements, the benefits come from long-term use as it quietly works away in your body. You would need to be taking a supplement in tablet form of between 1000 to 1500mg per day in one tablet. You need to taking it for at least two months before you will start to see feel the benefits and then continue long-term. You may not feel a miraculous change, but rest assured it will be protecting you from within.
When people stop taking it prematurely, it is because they don’t suddenly feel any apparent benefits. Glucosamine is one of those supplements that you need to be patient with as it builds long-term protection and provides more of the raw material and anti-inflammatory mediators to protect the structures in your body.
It’s certainly high on my list to recommend to you. Take 1500mg myself daily, and I use my formula for maximum benefit from the BioBrade range of products – which I'm proud to say is my brand.
Try glucosamine as part of one of my carefully selected Pro Pack to help you perform to your max.