Glucosamine is a natural compound that is found in the human body. The body produces glucosamine to build tendons, cartilage, ligaments, and synovial fluid which lubricates the joints. The joints are cushioned by this surrounding cartilage and fluid. As humans age, this natural cushion starts to wear down and become thin. As this occurs, the joints begin to rub on each other. This constant friction causes a breakdown of that natural cushion and leads to pain and stiffness. This type of problem is commonly referred to as Osteoarthritis.
Researchers believe that taking a Glucosamine supplement increases the production of synovial fluid and builds the cartilage around the joints. Researchers also believe that it helps protect the remaining cartilage from breaking down anymore.
It is reported that taking a glucosamine supplement, or using a topical cream that contains it, eases joint pain from Osteoarthritis and TMJ of the jaw. Some people try Glucosamine but claim that they do not receive any relief. However, researchers state that it can take as many as 8 weeks to produce noticeable relief.
In fact, researchers have credited Glucosamine with minimizing the need for a total knee replacement in many patients!
Glucosamine supplements are made from chitin, which is the hard outer shells of crabs, lobsters, or shrimp. If you have an allergy to shellfish, you should definitely check your source of glucosamine before purchasing. There are shellfish-free versions available which are referred to as Vegetarian Glucosamine. This formula is often derived from corn via a fermentation process.
Dietary supplements of Glucosamine are available in many different compound forms including glucosamine sulfate, glucosamine hydrochloride, and N-acetyl-glucosamine. Also, they sometimes contain additional ingredients such as chondroitin, sulfate, manganese, MSM, or shark cartilage. Some people believe they get better relief from these extra ingredients, but researchers have not proved that they create any more benefits than Glucosamine by itself. Due to the fact that glucosamine is not found in food, topical creams or supplements are the only way to absorb this supplement.
Glucosamine is said to provide relief from Osteoarthritis in specific ways such as: Reducing pain, improving mobility in hips and knees ravaged by OA, reducing swelling, and relieving symptoms of OA for up to 3 months after treatment is stopped.
Many types of treatment options are available: topical creams can be applied, supplements can be consumed orally, or doctors can provide an injectable form directly into the effected joints.