Is Glucosamine an Effective Knee Pain Supplement?

knee pain

The common misconception is knee joints wear out like Michelins; the more you use them, the faster they wear out. However, joints can repair themselves, unlike car tyres. The cause of joint pain is usually a lack of nutrition and care.

For pain relief, glucosamine is one of the popular supplements for osteoarthritis. According to research, it can provide treatment for mild-to-severe knee pain.

Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis that occurs when cartilage breaks down and is lost, either due to injury or normal wear and tear. Normally joints can repair themselves, but in osteoarthritis, the repair processes are overwhelmed by destructive processes. Genetics, obesity, injuries, and how a joint is used can all contribute to this.

Some have also used glucosamine to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune and inflammatory disease. It is less common than osteoarthritis.

What is glucosamine?

Glucosamine is a natural compound that can be found throughout the body.

The body uses glucosamine to produce other chemicals responsible for forming tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and surrounding fluid joints. Cartilage and the fluid that surrounds joints work together to provide a cushioning effect. Consuming glucosamine will increase the cartilage and fluid around joints to prevent the breakdown of these structures.

In supplement form, glucosamine is harvested from the shells of shellfish or made in a lab. There are several forms of glucosamine, including glucosamine sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride.

If you are allergic to shellfish, you can try Osteopro, a plant-based supplement made from glucosamine sulfate.

What does glucosamine do?

Glucosamine plays a vital role in making glycosaminoglycans and glycoproteins, which are crucial to forming ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and synovial fluid in the joints. Cartilage is a connective tissue that is flexible, tough, and rubbery. Its main function is to protect and cushion the bones in the joints. It not only acts as padding but also stops the bones from rubbing against one another.

Your cartilage might lose some flexibility and degrade as a natural consequence of ageing. This can cause severe discomfort, inflammation, and tissue damage, symptoms common in conditions such as osteoarthritis.

While the body produces its natural form of glucosamine, levels of it tend to decrease with age. This decline, over time, contributes to the deterioration of joint health.

Several European studies found that people who took glucosamine supplements had significantly less joint pain.

How much glucosamine should you take?

While there is no standard recommended dosage, the glucosamine dose that has been used in most research studies is 1500mg daily. This dosage can be divided into multiple smaller daily doses.

Patients with osteoarthritis usually require higher glucosamine doses at first and gradually reduce as symptoms improve.

How long does it take for glucosamine to help knee pain?

It will take at least four to eight weeks for the maximum benefits of glucosamine to appear, according to researcher Rebecca Braham of the department of epidemiology and preventive medicine at Monash University in Australia.

What are the risks of taking glucosamine?

If allergic to shellfish, you should exercise caution when taking glucosamine because the supplement may create a reaction. In addition, you should consult your doctor before taking dietary supplements if you have diabetes, kidney disease, heart problems, bleeding disorders, or high blood pressure.

Glucosamine usage has been found in the vast majority of studies to be completely risk-free for most people, with no substantial adverse effects. Only relatively harmless adverse effects have been reported, such as gastrointestinal distress, nausea, and headaches.

Keep in mind, however, that chitin, which is a component that can be found in shellfish, is the most prevalent source of glucosamine. Those who are allergic to shellfish should thus pay close attention to the product label. Consider plant-based options if you are allergic to shellfish or strictly follow a vegan or vegetarian diet.

Glucosamine can also interact with warfarin, a blood thinner prescribed to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. You may experience bleeding problems if you take both glucosamine and warfarin simultaneously. Because of this, you should consult with a qualified medical practitioner first.

Can you get glucosamine from food naturally?

Although glucosamine can be extracted from shellfish shells (such as shrimp, lobster, and crab), there aren’t any natural food sources.

You’ll need to take a dietary supplement to increase your glucosamine intake. Glucosamine works best when taken in the early stages before joint pain worsens.

Helpful tips to protect knee cartilages

In addition to health supplements, you can make simple changes to your lifestyle to help keep your knees healthy.

1. Exercise regularly. Regular physical activity helps strengthen muscles and bones, including those around your knees. It also improves circulation, helping to prevent swelling and inflammation.

2. Avoid sitting for extended periods. When you sit for prolonged periods, your hips and knees bend more than they would otherwise. This puts extra stress on your joints, especially if your legs are crossed. If you must sit, try alternating between standing and sitting every hour.

3. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Brussels sprouts, broccoli, oranges, and blueberries are rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals that can protect joint cartilage from damage or breakdown.

4. Eat a non-inflammatory diet. Inflammation can damage your joints. When it comes to inflammation, processed foods, especially those made with white flour and sugar, are a major cause. Meat, dairy, and eggs can also contribute to inflammation.

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