Glucosamine (in sulfate form) is one of Consumer Reports “11 supplements to consider.”* The glucosamine used in supplements is typically derived from the shells of shrimp or crabs although a corn source is also available for vegans. Glucosamine is available in two primary chemical forms. One is glucosamine hydrochloride and the other is glucosamine sulfate. Based on research, it appears that neither one is better than the other and thus can be said to be equally effective. Chondroitin sulfate is generally derived from pig or cow cartilage, although shark and chicken cartilage has been used. A plant based chondroitin-like mucopolysaccharides made from algae is also available.
Glucosamine and Chondroitin: Claims and Purported Use
Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate occur naturally in the body. Supplementing the body’s natural production has produced the following claims: cure or alleviate arthritis pain, help build cartilage, cushion the joints and prevent the deterioration of cartilage. Together, they are used to slow the progression of osteoarthritis (the deterioration of cartilage between joint bones) and to reduce the associated pain. A study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) called the Glucosamine/Chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (or GAIT study) found that the combination of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate seems to be effective in osteoarthritis patients with moderate to severe knee pain, although not those with mild pain. The following glucosamine and chondroitin products are tested and true.
TESTED & TRUE
Selected Potential Side Effects
When taken in appropriate amounts, glucoamine and chondroitin are generally regarded as safe for healthy people not taking other medications. Glucosamine may cause gastrointestinal distress, drowsiness, skin reactions, and headache, while chondroitin may cause an upset stomach.
Selected Drug Interactions
Before starting any supplement for joint pain, it is advised to consult with a physician. Chondroitin combined with blood thinners may cause bleeding in some people.
Usually about 1,500 mg of glucosamine and 1,200 mg of chondroitin is recommended for the initial daily dose for about three months to determine if beneficial effects occur. If beneficial effects to occur after three months, a user weighing over 200 pounds can maintain the same dosage.
A person under 200 pounds, however, can reduce dosage to 1,000 mg of glucosamine and 800mg of chondroitin.
Users under 125 pounds may even consider reducing dosage to 500 mg of glucosamine and 400 mg of chondroitin.
Reference Guide for Tested and True Dietary Supplements
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*reference: Consumer Reports Health