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30 Jul 2019

Glucosamine explained

2 mins to read
Commonly used to help relieve joint pain caused by osteoarthritis, find out more about the benefits of glucosamine and how it works.

Glucosamine is a sugar that occurs naturally in the body and is a structural component of cartilage, the rubbery tissue that provides padding where your bones meet your joints. The materials that make up joint tissue are called glycosaminoglycans (GAGs).

Cartilage allows bones to move smoothly against each other. But cartilage can start to break down as you age, which can then lead to joint pain.

Your body has its own glucosamine factory, so that it produces it naturally, but it’s also found in certain foods – and supplements are available, too. 

Read on to find out how to keep your glucosamine levels topped up and why doing that is a key ingredient for the health and wellbeing of your joints.

What are the benefits of glucosamine?

Glucosamine is a popular supplement for the management of the symptoms of mild osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis a degenerative joint disease and is characterised by a degeneration of cartilage in the joints.

It is primarily a disease of ageing, and the main symptoms include: pain, stiffness, limitation of movement and swelling.

Clinical trials suggest that taking 1500 mg of glucosamine per day may lead to improvements in pain, as well as reductions in joint stiffness and limitations of physical function for people who are suffering from mild osteoarthritis.

How does glucosamine work?

Glucosamine stimulates the body to produce glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), which are the building blocks of cartilage. 

Plus, it plays a role in producing other components of joint tissue, including tendons and synovial fluid. 

It may also stimulate the production of something called hyaluronic acid, which helps the synovial fluid in the joint capsule to lubricate and act like a shock absorber.

What can affect glucosamine levels?

Cartilage isn’t the only joint-friendly substance that can be affected by growing older – unfortunately, with age, your body can also lose the ability to produce sufficient amounts of the all-important glucosamine. 

It’s a fact that means that increasing your intake of glucosamine-rich foods and even taking a supplement that contains glucosamine, can help to rebuild any cartilage that’s been lost and maintain current levels to ease any pain, as you celebrate one birthday after another – after another. 

Which foods contain glucosamine?

Glucosamine is naturally present in animal bones, bone marrow, mushrooms and shellfish. 

Using the shells of shellfish in stocks or bone broth is one of the most practical way of incorporating glucosamine into your diet.

How much glucosamine do you need?

1500mg of glucosamine each day may help to reduce mild pain, joint stiffness and maintain joint mobility. 

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