|Glucosamine is commonly used for the relief of pain and symptoms associated with osteoarthritis and other joint disorders. Glucosamine repairs damaged arthritic joints, reduces pain, and builds synovial fluids. It is easily absorbed into the bloodstream, and is necessary in the formation of skin, eyes, bones, tendons, nails, ligaments, and parts of the heart. It is used for inflamed
discs, sciatica, and many forms of arthritis. Both acute and chronic forms of rheumatic and arthritic diseases are associated with joint pain and inflammation and hence cause a lot of distress to patients suffering from such a disease. Osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease, is the most common form of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a disease featuring pain and impaired function of the joints. While inflammation contributes to the disease process, the main cause is "wear and tear" to the synovium (joint lining).
Glucosamine provides the primary substrate for both collagen and proteoglycan synthesis. Glucosamine stimulates the production of glycosaminoglycans and proteoglycans, two essential building blocks of cartilage. The polysaccharide groups in proteoglycans are called glycosaminoglycans or GAGs. GAGs include hyaluronic acid, chondroitin sulfate, dermatan sulfate, keratan sulfate, heparin and heparan sulfate. All of the GAGs contain derivatives of glucosamine or galactosamine. Glucosamine also stimulates the incorporation of sulfur into cartilage. Sulfur is necessary for making and repairing cartilage. Because it helps to reinforce the cartilage around joints, glucosamine may hasten the healing of acute joint injuries, such as sprained ankles or fingers.
Glucosamine is chondroprotective agent which are those which, in addition to relieving symptoms, appear to aid in balancing synthesis and degradation of cartilage tissue. Its importance in joint dysfunctions relates to its physiologic role in the synthesis of proteoglycans and glycosaminoglycans, which are cartilage components. Glucosamine is effective in reducing the symptoms of joint dysfunction and is well-tolerated. Glucosamine significantly reduces pain and tenderness and improves mobility. Administration of glucosamine to a subject bypasses the glucose to glucosamine rate-limiting step in the subject's natural production of collagen and proteoglycans because production of additional quantities of collagen and proteoglycans become available for use by the subject's natural healing processes to repair connective tissue.
Glucosamine may also have other therapeutic effects such as antiviral, anti-cancer, anti-aging, immune boosting or cholesterol lowering activity. It is necessary in the production of mucous as a protective coating in the urinary, digestive, and respiratory tracts. Glucosamine is also important for healthy skin. Adequate amounts of it in the blood are necessary for the production of hyaluronic acid, one of the substances essential to heal skin injuries. Glucosamine combined with ascorbic acid, tyrosine or phenylalanine, and calcium has been shown to accelerate wound healing.