Glucosamine plays a vital role in building and repairing cartilage. Many people take glucosamine supplements in the hope of boosting their joint health. Glucosamine is a natural sugar that exists in the fluid around our joints, as well as in animal bones, bone marrow, shellfish, and some fungi.
Our body uses glucosamine to build and repair cartilage. Cartilage is a tough, flexible, connective tissue that protects the bones in our joints. It provides padding and prevents the bones from rubbing together.
As people age, their cartilage can become less flexible and start to break down. This can lead to pain, inflammation, and tissue damage, which, for example, occurs in osteoarthritis.
There is some evidence that glucosamine might slow this process and benefit cartilage health.
Glucosamine occurs naturally in the body, but levels fall as people get older. In time, the reduction could contribute to joint deterioration.
It is vital that glucosamine is always combined with sulfur (as glucosamine sulfate), whether you take it as a dietary supplement or as a pharmaceutical drug. Sulfur ensures that glucosamine is effectively transported into the articular cartilage. Glucosamine sulfate is without discussion a superior form.
Some patients use the sulfur compound MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) along with glucosamine, but this is only necessary if you take glucosamine hydrochloride. Like MSK, sulfate is a sulfur compound and both are equally effective when combined with glucosamine.
Glucosamine appears to have a number of useful properties. It has a slight anti-inflammatory effect and an indirect pain-relieving effect, as well. After two weeks of daily use, glucosamine has been shown to be every bit as pain-relieving as the NSAID-preparation ibuprofen. Glucosamine sulfate prevents further deterioration of joint cartilage and is even believed to have tissue-regenerating properties, but without clear evidence showing that it can actually restore lost cartilage. Some of the effects are attributed to the sulfur content. Glucosamine sulfate is the only known substance that holds all of these combined properties. Pain relief comes only after several weeks of administration / treatment, in some cases even longer.