How Glucosamine Works
So How Exactly Does Glucosamine Work?
As we age, cartilage loses its ability to hold water. Glucosamine makes synovial fluid thick and gelatinous, which allows it to hold more water. This increases it's cushioning ability. Thus glucosamine has the ability to decrease friction and pain in the joint.
In addition, glucosamine inhibits the breakdown of proteoglycans and may aid in rebuilding damaged cartilage. NSAIDs (Non Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs) such as aspirin, have been shown to do the opposite, actually causing the disease to progress at a faster rate while masking the pain. Then you have to take more aspirin to reduce the increased pain and the cycle continues.
Glycosaminoglycans, chondroitin sulfates, collagen, and water make up 90% of the cartilage composition. Recent studies have shown that the introduction of large quantities of glucosamine sulfate have an ability to raise the fluid levels within the cartilage from dangerously low levels to levels that are tolerable, if not favorable to joint health. When the fluid levels are close to the norm, there is a tendency for much less damage to the nerves due to a greater resilience in the disk from the higher water content. Simply put, the more water held by the joint, the greater the shock absorbing effect and the greater the health of your joints. Glucosamine helps attract and keep water in the joints where it can do the most good.
In addition to increased nerve protection, higher fluid levels over time (say 12-18 months) will allow the peripheral nervous system to grow into areas where previously little or no feeling was observed. Thus, the theory behind taking glucosamine supplements is that these dietary supplements help you rebuild your nervous system and cartilage and thus regain a portion of your lost mobility.
Glucosamine Works - Without the Side Effects
The benefit of glucosamine for sufferers of osteoarthritis is backed by many double blind, placebo controlled studies. Although initially painkillers have been shown to decrease pain faster than glucosamine, glucosamine is more effective over time. There is no danger of kidney failure or other extremely harmful side effects with glucosamine either. Instead of masking the pain with NSAIDs, it makes sense to supplement your body with what is naturally lacking: glucosamine.
Glucosamine is not expensive (you can find high quality liquid products for under a dollar a day). Dosages may be split up and taken prior to a meal or may simply be taken once a day. Most doctors will suggest you take 1,500 mg of glucosamine per day and this can be taken while undergoing other alternative therapy i.e. chiropractic, acupressure, yoga, physio-therapy, etc.
Note: 1,500 mg is the daily dose we suggest for the average adult human. Most clinical studies were done on patients taking 1,500 mg per day and most products on the market place will give you that amount. Keep in mind that pets generally need less glucosamine, due to their weight and it is not uncommon to be able to find a 6 month supply for under thirty dollars if your pet is very small. Individuals who weigh 250 lbs or more will need to take 3,000 mg per day.