Do Glucosamine Supplements Help Joint Pain?
Glucosamine is a popular osteoarthritis treatment available over the counter today. Research indicates regular use of this supplement, which is an amino sugar, can help to enhance cartilage repair and growth. Many experts believe that glucosamine works as effectively as conventional medicine without problematic side effects. One notable exception is that because it comes from shellfish, anyone who is allergic to seafood or seaweed should not use glucosamine, or they do, they should be on guard against the development of possible side effects or an allergic reaction.
How Does Glucosamine Work?
Glucosamine helps to strengthen the body’s cartilage, which in turn reduces inflammation and slows the deterioration process. Recognized as a natural supplement, glucosamine is used to reduce pain and swelling in affected joints. Numerous studies on its efficacy has been done since 2000. While some results appear to show promising benefits, others have raised more questions than answers. More research is being conducted to confirm the efficacy of this supplement.
Anyone who has been prescribed medicine to treat arthritis should not stop taking it in order to start using glucosamine. Discuss the best options for your condition with the doctor before adding a supplement to your treatment options.
Glucosamine has been tested in several countries. The Lancet reported in 2001 that a three-year double-blind clinical trial of 212 osteoarthritis patients indicated participants’ symptoms decreased by 20 to 25 percent. However, subsequent research showed that x-rays that measured changes in knee spaces were not standardized, among other concerns. Since glucosamine production is unregulated, buyers aren’t exactly sure what they are taking when they shop for various brands.
In 2006, a large, controlled study conducted by the National Institutes of Health found that participants experienced a twenty percent reduction in pain. However, that was the same percentage reported by those taking a placebo. Currently, researchers are still unsure of the actual benefits of glucosamine to those suffering from osteoarthritis. However, many experts agree that the pros outweigh the cons.
Advantages Of Glucosamine
As more research is being performed on the effects of glucosamine on osteoarthritic symptoms, many people continue to take it on a routine basis. One advantage is that conventional medications come with risks, some of which may be serious. Another benefit of glucosamine is that it can be purchased without a prescription, and is readily available at most drugstores and supermarkets. A promising study that compared the impact of prescribed drugs to glucosamine showed that medication worked faster, but glucosamine’s effects lasted longer. Glucosamine is also relatively affordable, unlike some prescription drugs.
Those who suffer from arthritis pain and inflammation should consult their doctor for a thorough examination. With his or her consent, shop for glucosamine from a trustworthy source that produces standardized supplements at affordable prices. Check the ingredients listed on the label to ensure you are purchasing a quality product. Take note of any symptoms that materialize as you begin taking the supplement, especially if you are taking other medications as well.