Glucosamine is produced by our body naturally. It is essential in building cartilage or that connective tissue which cushions the joints.

You may get it from oral supplements made out of the hard outer shells of crabs, lobsters and shrimps. It may be in powder, liquid, capsule or tablet forms and presented as N-acetyl glucosamine, glucosamine hydrochloride or glucosamine sulfate. It also comes in injectable forms.

Other forms are also manufactured for persons who have shellfish allergies.

Benefits

Studies show that glucosamine can effectively treat the following conditions:

Osteoarthritis

This condition occurs when the cartilage breaks and is lost due to ordinary wear and tear or to injury. It commonly occurs in older people, specifically on the knees and hips.

Supplements may be used to reduce the joint pains caused by osteoarthritis. Some research also show that they can retard the progression of the disease. They can reduce the stiffness and swelling of the joints. They likewise improve the functions of people inflicted with this disease.

Supplements are usually taken for two to four months before improvements can be observed. They are usually taken with chondroitin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID).

Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD)

IBDs like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease that are characterized by chronic and bloody diarrhea may be relieved with the help of N-acetyl glucosamine supplements or enema. Supplements are advisable when standard medical treatments fail to work.

Proper Intake

It’s best to consult your doctor before taking glucosamine supplements. While these supplements are generally safe, they can also cause some side effects especially when taken with other medications and supplements. Thus, you must get your doctor’s approval to know that they’re safe for you. Here are some of the known side effects of these supplements:

  • Heart burn
  • Bloating
  • Vomiting
  • Upset stomach
  • Nausea
  • Indigestion
  • Diarrhoea

Here are some other tips you need to bear in mind when taking glucosamine supplements:

  • If you have a peptic ulcer, take the supplement with food.
  • Avoid taking supplements if you’re pregnant and breastfeeding.
  • If you have diabetes, make sure to check your blood sugar regularly as supplements can make insulin less effective.
  • Check your cholesterol and blood pressure levels regularly since they may be elevated when you take supplements.
  • If you have asthma, check with your doctor if it’s safe for you to take supplements as they can increase exacerbations.
  • Supplements may have high amounts of potassium or sodium which may not be advisable for persons with restricted diets or who take potassium sparing diuretics.
  • Avoid supplements made out of shellfish if you’re allergic to them.
  • If you’re taking Warfarin, NSAIDs, insulin, Teniposide, Doxorubicin or Etoposide, make sure to consult your doctor before taking supplements because they may interact negatively with these medications.

If you experience any side effects or adverse reactions to glucosamine, it’s best to see your doctor and you might need to discontinue use. Otherwise, it won’t hurt to try the supplements especially if you’re suffering from the conditions they treat.