Glucosamine is a natural chemical compound that is found in healthy cartilage within the joints. It is made up of glucose and the amino acid glutamine and is imperative to the production, maintenance and repair of cartilage. It is needed to produce glycosaminoglycan, which is a molecule used in the formation and repair of cartilage and other body tissues. Glucosamine is also the essential building block for most other major parts of the joint, including tendons, ligaments and synovial fluid.
Cartilage is the rubber cushion that can be found at either end of the bone, where 2 or more bones meet. It acts as a shock absorber and prevents the bone surfaces from rubbing against each other in order to protect our bones and joints. Glucosamine is essential for maintaining and preserving healthy cartilage and our bodies should produce sufficient amounts within the joints by itself.
Unfortunately as we age, our body’s production of glucosamine significantly slows down, which can lead to the degeneration of cartilage, causing it to become dried out, cracked and beginning to wear away. With bones left unprotected, our joints can become swollen, stiff, inflamed, tender and painful with a possible result of osteoarthritis.
As the body will eventually begin reducing its production of glucosamine over time, a lot of people are taking glucosamine supplements to ensure their body is still provided with this essential element for keeping their joints in good shape. Glucosamine supplements are also widely used for arthritic joints, especially osteoarthritis where cartilage has worn away and caused damage. This nutritional supplement is believed to repair damaged cartilage and maintain healthy cartilage by providing the body with a supply of glucosamine when it can no longer produce it itself.
There is promising evidence from research into glucosamine supplements that show it can help to reduce painful symptoms of osteoarthritis and slow down its progression. Most research that has been carried out has found most success with glucosamine and knee osteoarthritis, with patients noting a significant reduction of pain and stiffness. They have also found that a regular intake of glucosamine could prevent the narrowing of joint spaces that occurs when the cartilage has worn away, meaning that bones are less likely to run together and cause further deterioration.