Glucosamine is a naturally occurring compound found in the joints that plays a crucial role in building ligaments, tendons and cartilage.
Glucosamine can also be found in the synovial fluid that cushions the area between the bones of the joint and reduces friction when joints move.
There is ample evidence that glucosamine supplements provide an array of benefits that help produce a better quality of life, particularly in older individuals.
8 Benefits Of Glucosamine
Generally, glucosamine has been shown to possess potent anti-inflammatory properties that can provide relief for a variety of inflammation-related maladies. More specifically the benefits of glucosamine supplements include the following:
1: Glucosamine can improve cartilage strength.
At its core, glucosamine is a type of amino acid and a building block that your body uses to produce and maintain cartilage: the binding material within and between your joints. Thus, consuming glucosamine supplements can directly benefit the cartilage strength of your body.
However, glucosamine supplements do not produce immediate results. Instead, the benefits to your cartilage accrue over time and with continued use and exercise (1).
2: Glucosamine can reduce inflammation.
Glucosamine, at least when applied directly to cells that form bones, creates an immediate anti-inflammatory response from surrounding tissue. However, research proving this and similar benefits often involves supplementing glucosamine with chondroitin. Like glucosamine, chondroitin is also a key building block for healthy cartilage and your body produces a certain amount of it naturally.
A 2014 study involving 200 people found that glucosamine supplements, at least when combined with chondroitin, produced a statistically significant reduction in certain inflammatory markers. This means that glucosamine is apparently more effective at reducing inflammation when combined with chondroitin than when taken alone (2).
3: Glucosamine supplements can help support healthy joints.
This should not be a surprise because it is the compound’s natural purpose. Specifically, glucosamine forms the key chemical compounds that are necessary to create articular cartilage: the type of tissue surrounding the ends of your bones, where they connect to create joints and joint tissue.
Glucosamine both helps your body form new cartilage more effectively and reduces the likelihood of existing cartilage breaking down. Taking glucosamine supplements, therefore, has the potential to reduce cartilage-related joint issues.
A study of 41 cyclists who took up to 3 grams of supplemental glucosamine per day suggested that glucosamine could reduce certain types of collagen and cartilage degradation in the knee joint area (3).
4: Glucosamine supplements are used to treat joint and bone disorders.
Specific disorders or symptoms of disorders treated with glucosamine supplements include osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
There are multiple studies which show that daily glucosamine sulfate supplements, alongside other long-term treatments, can provide a significant reduction in pain or overall slowing of a disease’s progression (4).
The pain relief found by taking glucosamine sulfate supplements is, however, highly dependent on the individual. It’s also dependent on other treatments being used in conjunction with glucosamine supplements. The supplements alone will not reduce pain to any significant degree, so pain relief medication and exercise are often recommended as well (5).
5: Glucosamine supplements can be used to improve bone strength.
The research into this topic is still lacking when it comes to human subjects, but some research with mice shows that glucosamine supplements can positively impact new bone tissue formation and reduce bone degradation over time.
This may lead to solutions for osteoporosis and related conditions. Additionally, those suffering from osteoporosis and experiencing joint disease in the meantime can use glucosamine supplements as an ancillary treatment in conjunction with other medications or therapies as prescribed by a doctor (6).
6: Glucosamine may be effective in treating inflammatory bowel disease.
A recent animal study indicated that glucosamine may have a role to play in alleviating some of the symptoms of IBS. In the study, mice with inflammatory bowel disease experienced reduced inflammation when they were given glucosamine supplements. This is likely an ancillary side effect of glucosamine’s ability to reduce inflammation across the board rather than a targeted side effect directly related to IBD (7).
7: Glucosamine plays a role in eye health.
There’s some evidence to suggest that glucosamine sulfate supplements can improve eye health by reducing inflammation and providing the aforementioned antioxidant effects.
This study found that long-term consumption of glucosamine sulfate supplements produced better vision and reduced visual discomfort in a series of test subjects. The reasons for this benefit are not well understood, however, and glucosamine is not a direct treatment for eye diseases (8).
8: Glucosamine can work as a therapeutic supplement for or TMJ.
Temporomandibular joint is characterized by low jaw mobility and significant jawbone discomfort and pain. Glucosamine supplements can, according to one admittedly small study, significantly reduce the pain and inflammation experienced by those suffering from TMJ.
It’s thought that the glucosamine can help the jawbones of affected individuals repair itself and associated cartilage more effectively, along with reducing the inflammation that causes discomfort. However, more human trials are needed to firmly prove that glucosamine supplements play a serious role in TMJ pain reduction (9).
Glucosamine supplements are a simple and effective way to bolster bone and joint strength to fend off some of the degenerative effects of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis and to enhance eye and heart health as well.