Glucosamine is an amino-sugar produced by the body that is also found in small amounts in food. It plays an important role in the formation and repair of cartilage. It is the main base of the lubricants that make our joint work smoothly.
There are three different forms: glucosamine sulfate, glucosamine hydrochloride and glucosamine acetylated. These different chemicals have some similarities, but they do not offer the same effects when they are ingested in the form of dietary supplements. Most scientific researchs have studied glucosamine sulfate, which is the most consumed.
Glucosamine sulfate is a natural substance found in the body and which is present in the fluid surrounding the joints. Glucosamine used in dietary supplements comes from crab, lobster and shrimp shells. However, glucosamine sulfate used in dietary supplements does not always come from natural sources. It can be also get in the laboratory.
Glucosamine has large applications into two main groups. The first group responds to people with arthritis, osteoarthritis, sciatica and conditions of joint deterioration. The second group responds to persons performing physical high-impact workouts such as runners.
Whether in terms of prevention or as an aid to healing, glucosamine is commonly used to treat inflammation of the articular discs and joints. The body uses it to produce a variety of other substances involved in the formation of tendons, ligaments, cartilage and fluid surrounding joints. The joint motion is cushioned by the fluid and cartilage. Glucosamine helps to increase the amount of cartilage and fluid surrounding the joint and prevent spoilage. The researchers also highlight the importance of glucosamine sulfate, which may work better than the other forms.
The use of glucosamine is safe, but it can cause side effects such as increased intestinal gas and loose stools. Children and pregnant women should not take these supplements. Also, because glucosamine is an aminosaccharide, people with diabetes should frequently check their blood sugar levels if they consume this supplement. People allergic to shellfish should consult their physician before use it. In most cases, allergies are caused by proteins found in shellfish, not because the chitin, a carbohydrate from where it is extracted.