Glucosamine is a nutrient that is very important for our body. The nutrient works on connective tissue (more specifically, the cartilage) and serves the purpose of both helping create new connective tissue, as well as repairing damaged connective tissue. Thus, it ensures the effective working of the joints.
Benefits of Glucosamine
As previously stated, glucosamine is essential for building cartilage, a form of connective tissue that provides cushioning for joints and bones, apart from being found in different parts of the body.
Glucosamine is a precursor for one of the major components of the cartilage that lines the joints. Apart from this, it is also responsible for incorporating sulfur in it.
Studies have shown that glucosamine supplements help those with osteoarthritis, specifically if the ailment affects the knee or the hip. The supplements reduce the pain associated with arthritis, and subsequently, improve the functioning of the affected part.
It also reduced stiffness and inflammation – and the relief extended for up to 2-3 months post-treatment. In some cases, combining Glucosamine with Chondroitin may prove to be the key.
Studies carried out regarding the effects of glucosamine and related dietary supplements showed that they have positive effects (with respect to treatment) on those with Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) – in some cases, individuals who had not responded to other treatments had responded to Glucosamine.
More studies are required to confirm the same. While studies are yet to be tried out on humans, animal experiments have shown that Glucosamine supplements help suppress the autoimmune response observed in certain diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
This was achieved because the supplement inhibited the growth of T-cells that harm the individual’s immune system (abnormal T-cells). It was also found to postpone the occurrence of the symptoms.
Another joint-related disease that Glucosamine helps combat is a temporomandibular joint disease, which is degenerative in nature. The supplement does so by reducing the symptoms of pain associated with movement of the affected joints, thus allowing for a relative level of normalcy to be achieved with regard to performing daily activities.
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Sources of Glucosamine
While Glucosamine is available in our body and in the form of supplements, its natural occurrence in regularly consumed foods is very rare. The nutrient is available in the cartilage of meat of animals, and in the shells of crustaceans (which may have to be ground in order to be consumed).
When consumed in the form of supplements, it is most commonly available in the form of Glucosamine sulfate, though other forms such as Glucosamine hydrochloride are also available.
However, you need to keep in mind that owing to the fact that these supplements are made from shellfish, those allergic to the same must exercise caution before having the supplements.
Deficiencies of Glucosamine
The signs of deficiency of Glucosamine are most commonly observed in old age. This is because as a person grows older, their bone density decreases – this, in turn, leads to joint and muscle aches, while making a person more susceptible to the bone, cartilage and joint injuries.
There is a possibility that when these two factors are combined, the resultant product may be osteoarthritis, characterized by joint aches and morning stiffness.
The effects of Glucosamine deficiency, in essence, are felt because of the manner in which it affects the functioning of many body tissues, more so the ones that are responsible for movement.