Glucosamine is the amino sugar created with the combination of glucose and the amino acid glutamine. Glucosamine can be found in the body and acts as the precursor to glycosaminoglycan, a substance needed for the development and restoration of body tissues like cartilages. Over time, as people gets older, Glucosamine production of the body decreases and calls for supplementation. Artificially, the preparation of Glucosamine is derived from the amino sugars obtained from the exoskeletons of shellfish like crabs and lobsters. This compound was first prepared by Dr. Georg Ledderhose in 1876 as the end product of the hydrolysis of chitin mixed with a concentrated hydrochloric acid. Glucosamine is also known as glucosamine sulfate, glucosamine sulphate, glucosamine hydrochloride, N-acetyl glucosamine, and chitosamine.
Because of its importance in creating and repairing cartilages, Glucosamine has become a popular health supplement. Glucosamine is believed to be more effective when it is combined with Chondroitin, a substance naturally found in the cartilage that gives the cartilage’s its elastic properties. For older people whose production of cartilages diminishes and who are also prone of damaging them, taking additional Glucosamine with Chondroitin helps them maintain their mobility. According to a study conducted by Dr. Stephen Barrett, Glucosamine may stimulate the production of cartilage-building proteins. Also, other studies concluded based on Laboratory studies that Chondroitin acts by slowing down the production of enzymes that destroys cartilages and at the same time controls inflammation.
Benefits of Glucosamine
- As a degenerative disease of the joints and connective tissue, people affected by arthritis are greatly beneifited by Glucosamine by promoting the repair of cartilages.
- Glucosamine has analgesic effects like those of known NSAIDs such as aspirin and Ibuprofen. It has also fewer side effects than these Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs. Taking Glucosamine instead of NSAIDs reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and the event of gastrointestinal bleeding.
- Glucosamine promotes healthy joints.
- Compared to other medicines, Glucosamine produces lesser side effects.
Indications of Glucosamine
Because Glucosamine is a natural health supplement, it acts by promoting the normal body processes. According to studies, Glucosamine helps the body to reduce its risk of developing the following certain conditions.
Conditions that use Glucosamine are:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Crohn’s Disease or Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Chronic Venous Insufficiency
- Other Skin Conditions
Contraindications of Glucosamine
Glucosamine is derived from Glucose. Diabetic patients should be very cautious in taking Glucosamine. Patients with Diabetes must consult their Doctors before taking this health supplement and should monitor their blood sugar when using Glucosamine.
People allergic to shellfish must also take precautions in taking Glucosamine. Although shellfish allergies are due to proteins found in shellfish while Glucosamine is derived from their carbohydrates, it is still wise to ask the advice of your health provider.
Pregnant and nursing women are also advised to be as careful.
Glucosamine health supplement is not recommended for children.