Any disorder that affects joints is considered arthritis. The symptoms mostly include joint pain and stiffness. However, other symptoms may include swelling ,redness, warmth and possible decreased range of motion of the affected joints. Organs may also be affected in some types. It is reported that over 100 types of arthritis exist. Here Atli Arnason, PhD, HealthLine.com, reflects on the way glucosamine supplements affect arthritis:
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“Glucosamine is a popular dietary supplement used to treat osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease caused by insufficient regeneration of cartilage in joints, most often in the knees and hips.
It gets worse over time and causes joint pain, difficulties walking and disability.
There is no known cure, but there are a few ways to potentially slow the process. Many people try to stave off osteoarthritis by taking glucosamine supplements.
But do they really work? This article takes a look at the evidence.
What is Glucosamine?
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Glucosamine is a natural amino sugar produced by your body. It is also a dietary supplement marketed as an alternative treatment for osteoarthritis.
The highest natural concentration of glucosamine is in joints and cartilage where it makes up the structure of glycosaminoglycans, compounds essential for joint health (1).
Supplements are normally processed from crustacean shells or produced by the bacterial fermentation of grains (2).
They are widely available and sold in the form of tablets, capsules, soft gels or drink mixes. There are two main types: glucosamine sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride.
The way glucosamine affects arthritis is unclear. Scientists believe naturally occurring glucosamine helps protect the cartilage inside your joints (3).
However, the effectiveness of these supplements is debated.
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Glucosamine is one of the world’s most popular supplements. It’s also among the most controversial.
Here is the research about how it affects the two common types of arthritis.
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While many studies conclude that glucosamine has no benefits for osteoarthritis, others indicate that it may relieve joint pain and other symptoms over time.
This especially applies to glucosamine sulfate salts, a formulation patented by the pharmaceutical company Rottapharm.
One controlled study in 318 adults with osteoarthritis found that taking 1,500 mg of the “Rotta formulation” daily for half a year reduced pain and improved function more than a placebo.
The benefits appeared similar to a daily 3 g dose of acetaminophen — a commonly used pain reliever (7).
Another two studies, which included around 200 people, showed that taking 1,500 mg of glucosamine sulfate daily for three years improved their overall symptoms — including pain, stiffness and function — compared to a placebo (8, 9).
However, these studies were possibly industry-influenced since Rottapharm financed all three. Currently, no large, long-term, industry-independent studies on the effectiveness of glucosamine are available.
An independent analysis of several high-quality studies concluded that the “Rotta formulation” improved certain measures of pain and function more than a placebo, whereas other forms didn’t show any significant benefits (10).
That said, the benefits of taking glucosamine sulfate are small and some researchers consider them clinically irrelevant (11).
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Osteoarthritis should not be confused with rheumatoid arthritis, which is much less common.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the joints. Unlike osteoarthritis, it is not caused by everyday wear and tear.
Scientists have generally assumed that glucosamine has no benefits for rheumatoid arthritis.
Nevertheless, one study in 51 adults with rheumatoid arthritis suggests otherwise. It found that taking 1,500 mg of glucosamine hydrochloride for three months improved self-assessed symptoms more than a placebo (12).
However, more studies need to confirm these findings before any solid conclusions can be made.”
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Read More … Article Source: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/glucosamine-and-arthritis#section2
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