Glucosamine and You

So what is glucosamine? Glucosamine is an amino sugar and one of the building blocks of cartilage – the flexible connective tissue found in your joints and throughout your body. Your body produces glucosamine naturally, but can be also taken as a dietary supplement. Here are some of the benefits you can see from including glucosamine in your diet.

Joint pain, painful woman with hand injuryImproves Osteoarthritis and Relieves Joint Pain

As the body ages, it produces less glucosamine. Cartilage thins and wears down; joints become inflamed and less flexible. These are some of the causes of osteoarthritis and joint pain. Taking glucosamine supplements can fortify cartilage, reduce pain, improve joint mobility, slow the progression of osteoarthritis and reduce the risk of joint replacement. [1] [2]

Increases Hyaluronic Acid

You might be familiar with hearing how hyaluronic acid is good for your skin; but did you know it is also important in joint health? Hyaluronic acid prevents bones from rubbing against each other. One study suggests that glucosamine could be responsible for encouraging your body to produce it naturally, helping to ease joint pain. [3] Many great supplements have both glucosamine and hyaluronic acid.

Senior woman suffering from stomach pain in living room

Good for Your Gut

Glucosamine is more for just your joints. It also can stabilize gut health. Your gut contains helpful bacteria that help with digestion and regulate the immune system. Studies show that taking glucosamine can decrease inflammation and help regulate your immune system and metabolism. [4]

There are more benefits for those who suffer from bowel diseases. In one study, children with Inflammatory Bowel Disease displayed low levels of glucosamine. When given a glucosamine supplement, 66% of patients showed improvement. [5] Glucosamine does this by suppressing inflammation in the intestines. [6] Whether you suffer from IBD or not, glucosamine can be a beneficial ingredient in your diet.

Uses and Risk Factors

For healthy joints, glucosamine can be an inexpensive and natural option. Though it may not work for everyone, there are many who are eased of joint pain. Some who suffer from hip joint pain do not find glucosamine to be as effective [1]. Talk to your doctor to see if taking glucosamine supplements is right for you.

Known side effects include:

  • Heartburn
  • Headache
  • Indigestion
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea

Caution: Glucosamine is often harvested from shellfish. If you have a shellfish allergy, check the label before taking glucosamine. Also check with your doctor if you have high blood pressure, kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes or are pregnant or breastfeeding before taking glucosamine.

The Bottom Line

Glucosamine is available as a dietary supplement and can help ease your joint pain and improve gut health.