The human body naturally produces glucosamine, a compound that helps build cartilage. As a supplement, its biggest claim to fame is treating knee osteoarthritis, although some physicians also use it to aid wound healing and skin conditions like psoriasis.
The scientific evidence is pretty clear on this one: For people with knee osteoarthritis, supplementing with glucosamine reduces the need to gobble nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen and naproxen. “I take care of many athletes, and joint health is always an issue,” says Chris Niedzinski, owner of InnerLink Chiropractic in Wixom, Michigan. “Many arthritic and joint dysfunctions cause destruction in these areas, which leads to pain, loss of strength, and immobility in the joints.” Interestingly, many of his patients have also experienced pain relief by drinking bone broth, which delivers a naturally high dose of glucosamine.
Supplement-wise, glucosamine is often packaged with chondroiton, a compound derived from cartilage. Research shows that the combo eases osteoarthritis better than glucosamine alone. Some studies raise concerns that glucosamine might affect insulin levels and even hamper the body’s ability to process blood sugar. But the most recent studies suggest that it has no such effect. The link remains controversial though, so more research is necessary.
How to Use It
Niezinski tends to put patients on a routine of about 1,500 milligrams per day. Studies show that most people tolerate daily supplementation for at least three years. But one warning: People with shellfish allergies should steer clear.
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