|Description||Glucosamine is a substance which occurs naturally within the human body. It is found within the fluid around joints and within other connective tissues.|
|Function/ Used for||The body uses glucosamine to build and repair cartilage and it may help to maintain healthy joints. It has an anti-inflammatory action and has been used to relieve pain, stiffness and swelling of the knees, fingers and other joints, as well as arthritic back and neck pain.
Glucosamine may also increase the production of cartilage components and has been used to speed up the healing of sprains and strengthen joints.
A 2005 Cochrane review of 20 randomised controlled trials demonstrated the effectiveness of Glucosamine in the reduction of pain and improvement of joint function in osteoarthritis and also demonstrated its safety2.
|As a supplement||Glucosamine comes in capsule, tablet or powder forms.
It is available as a synthetically manufactured food supplement in the form of glucosamine sulphate and glucosamine hydrochloride.
A dose of glucosamine sulphate 500mg three times a day (1500mg daily) is generally recommended. A minimum of 4 weeks may be needed for the full benefit to be seen.1
Glucosamine is sometimes provided in supplements with chondroitin, an important component of cartilage, with which it may act synergistically.
|Found in (dietary sources)||Small amounts are provided in the diet by animal and fish products.|
|Precautions and contraindications||People who are allergic to shellfish should not take glucosamine supplements, unless taking the vegetarian form.|
|Use in pregnancy and breastfeeding||No problems have been reported, but there have not been sufficient studies to guarantee the safety of glucosamine in pregnancy and breast-feeding.1|
|Interactions e.g. with other medications||None known. Although insulin or oral hypoglycaemics used for the treatment of diabetes may be less effective. People with diabetes taking glucosamine should be aware of its potential influence on glucose metabolism1.|
|Adverse effects||Glucosamine is relatively non-toxic, although some side-effects reported include constipation, diarrhoea, heartburn, nausea, drowsiness, headache and skin rash1.|
|References||1. Mason, P. Dietary Supplements. Pharmaceutical Press, London, 2001.
2. Towheed et al. Glucosamine therapy for treating osteoarthrtitis. Cochrane database, issue 2, 2005.