Vitamin supplements guide   Vitamins & health supplements guide

Glucosamine quick review
Description: an essential intermediate in the biosynthetic pathway of proteoglycans, an amino derivative of the simple sugar, glucose.
Health benefits: epairs damaged arthritic joints, reduces pain, and builds synovial fluids; used for the relief of pain and symptoms associated with osteoarthritis and other joint disorders.

Sources & dosage: chitin, glycoproteins and glycosaminoglycans. The standard dosage ranges from 500 mg to 3,000 mg three times daily.
Glucosamine Chondroitin with MSM
Sulfur-containing methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is included in this glucosamine and chondroitin combination to provide an enhanced spectrum of nutrients for optimal cartilage matrix composition, connective tissue strength, and joint comfort. Glucosamine promotes the synthesis of the glycosaminoglycan chondroitin sulfate. Chondroitin sulfate is responsible for building the ground substance of cartilage, molecules known as proteoglycans. In addition, chondroitin sulfate may maintain healthy enzyme activity. An important role of sulfur from MSM is to enhance the structure and integrity of proteoglycans. Click here for more information.

Glucosamine (glucosamine hydrochloride, glucosamine sulphate)

Glucosamine is an important building block needed by the body to manufacture specialized molecules called glycosaminoglycans. Glucosamine is an amino monosaccharide found in chitin, glycoproteins and glycosaminoglycans such as hyaluronic acid and heparan sulfate. Glucosamine is an essential intermediate in the biosynthetic pathway of proteoglycans, which are the primary building blocks of connective tissue and cartilage. Glucosamine is available in different forms, so far four main sources of glucosamine are reported namely glucosamine hydrochloride, glucosamine hydroiodide, glucosamine sulphate and N-acetyl glucosamine. The glucosamine is preferred in a salt form so as to facilitate its delivery and uptake by the subject. The use of the non-salt glucosamine is believed by many to fail to provide bioavailable glucosamine because the compound is not absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract. Glucosamine sulphate is the most preferred form of glucosamine and is widely used in the treatment of osteoarthritis and other acute and chronic forms of rheumatic and arthritic diseases. Glucosamine hydrochloride may be obtained by hydrolysis and deacetylation of chitin, a polymer of N-acetyl glucosamine or by the hydrolysis of chitosan with hydrochloric acid. Glucosamine sulfate is an amino sugar used to create cushioning fluids and tissues around joints. Amino sugars are usually found as monomer residues in complex oligosaccharides and polysaccharides. Glucosamine is an amino derivative of the simple sugar, glucose. Glucosamine and other amino sugars are important constituents of many natural polysaccharides. Glucosamine is often taken with chondroitin, another supplement thought to be effective in treating arthritis. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are both basic constituents of articular cartilage. These substances are often combined with manganese as well, a trace metal that is also needed for building cartilage.


Health benefits of glucosamine

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.


Dosage and administration

The standard dosage ranges from 500 mg to 3,000 mg three times daily. Obese people may need to take higher dosages based on their weight. Glucosamine is typically as capsules and usually combined with chondroitin, manganese, vitamin C, or other dietary supplements. As mentioned aboved, the glucosamine is preferred in a salt form. Healthy people do not need to routinely supplement with glucosamine. People with peptic ulcers should take glucosamine sulfate with food.