Glucosamine has been studied for well over 40 years in humans1 and it has been used in prized thoroughbred horses, cats, dogs and even exotic animals. When it comes to safety, some clinical studies have reported more side effects in a sugar pill placebo than with glucosamine! Remember, glucosamine is found naturally in the body and is a natural nutraceutical product. According to the Institute of Medicine and National Academies, “in 1960, European physicians introduced the use of glucosamine as an injectable therapeutic agent in the treatment of osteoarthritis2.”
Hundreds of thousands of people have used glucosamine, and many have found it extremely effective to not only effectively ease their arthritis-related joint pain, but to also to provide them with far more than just long lasting relief. Glucosamine has been shown in clinical studies to regrow cartilage3, slow the progression of joint deterioration, and possibly even modify the disease itself with almost no side effects.
The most common reaction when you have mild pain or a headache or the like is to turn to a bottle of your favorite over the counter medication, such as aspirin or ibuprofen. The New England Journal of Medicine reports that “anti-inflammatory drugs (prescription and over-the-counter, which include Advil®, Motrin®, Aleve®, Ordus®, Aspirin, and over 20 others) alone cause over 16,500 deaths and over 103,000 hospitalizations per year in the US4.” Everything from stomach bleeding to intestinal damage to liver failure can result from the long term use and interactions with what are known as NSAIDS, or Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs. Fortunately, glucosamine not only safely and effectively eases the joint discomfort of arthritis while working to do something that NSAIDs cannot do – rebuild cartilage. Don’t just treat the symptoms and cover up the pain, attack the root of the problem.
In the U.S., baby boomers (who started turning 50 in 1996) are doing so at a rate of 300,000 per month5. Even if you have not reached 50 yet, it is important to take steps now to slow down the effects of arthritis. Arthritis has no cure and it will not get better on its own, but a daily regimen of glucosamine can help to keep your joints strong and maintain your cartilage for years to come.
Also, if you are taking or plan to begin taking glucosamine if you suffer from arthritis, then you need to check the bottle. If you see (Glucosamine Sulfate * KCl) or (Glucosamine Sulfate * NaCl) or Glucosamine Sulfate as a Salt, then you should be aware that up to 30% or more6 of the Glucosamine is being bound up in salts. But the manufacturers can legally say that they are giving you whatever dosage is listed on the bottle but the active, bioavailabile amount of actual glucosamine is going to be much smaller than the reported dosage because it has to be carried by the salts. Generally you will only find these deceptive (but unfortunately legal) practices in the very cheap glucosamine products, but you should be aware that you get what you pay for, and when it comes to important things like your body, one shouldn’t skimp.
1. Current Medical Research and Opinion. Vol. 7, No. 2, 1980
2. Institute of Medicine of the National Academies
3. Archives of Internal Medicine. 162(18):2113-23, 2002 Oct 14
4. Wolfe MM, et. al. NEJM 1999;340(24):1888-99
6. Institute of Medicine of the National Academies