Thursday, January 29, 2009

Side Effects of Glucosamine and Chondroitin

By Amy Clark

Our body manufactures Glucosamine, a naturally occurring compound which is made from glucose plus a type of amino acid called glutamine. Glucosamine may also be a naturally occurring amino sugar created from the synthesis of L-glutamine and glucose.

Glucosamine is also known by a number of other names, like for example: glucosamine sulfate, glucosamine hydrochloride, and N-acetyl glucosamine.

Glycosaminoglycan, meanwhile, is a molecule that is relevant in the development or restoration of your cartilage and other tissues throughout the body. As you grow older, the body's production of Glycosaminoglycan diminishes, hence causing swelling and bloating in the joints.

Glucosamine with chondroitin function as building blocks of your connective tissues and your cartilage. Glucosamine products are natural components occurring in shellfish harvests.

Glucosamine is often mixed with chondroitin to manage the symptoms of osteoarthritis (OA). Medical research has proven that this combination is successful in osteoporosis treatment and gradually restoring or improving bone function.

Glucosamine Chondroitin: Potential Side Effects

In general, the majority of supplements come with their own potential for adverse effects. Glucosamine and Chondroitin have revealed positive results in clinical trials, with most users reporting no side effects.

But in isolated cases, some individuals may report a small elevation in blood pressure, breathing difficulties, uneasiness, rashes, nausea, mild headaches, and stomach aches or gastrointestinal pains.

One common side effect of glucosamine-chondroitin supplements is soft stools and higher intestinal gas, but this is very rare. Clinical trials using animals reveal that glucosamine may decrease insulin levels, which can lead to diabetes. Even though this has not been documented in human tests, diabetic patients are strongly advised to exercise caution and closely monitor their blood sugar levels when using glucosamine supplements.

Additionally, individuals who are using blood thinners or aspirins must consult their doctor before deciding to use these supplements. Likewise, pregnant women or those who want to get pregnant must also seek a physician's advice, because the impact of glucosamine on a developing fetus is yet unknown. Children and women who are breast feeding should also stay away from glucosamine entirely.

Today, certain scientific studies continue to analyze the long-term consequences of glucosamine-chondroitin supplements. However, while their long-term impact is yet a mystery, most medical experts concur that the combined benefits of glucosamine & chondroitin sulfate in osteoarthritis treatment overshadow any potential for side effects.

Glucosamine with chondroitin is probably the single most potent supplement for protecting, lubricating, and maintaining the joints of the human body. Further, glucosamine helps restrain joint movement and consequently delay the deterioration of joint cartilages. Certain researches have proven the efficacy of glucosamine in pain relief and alleviating the symptoms of OA, but these effects were not seen right away. Likewise, Glucosamine is also established to lessen joint inflammation and block some harmful enzymes that may damage the joint cartilage, although more studies on this are needed.

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