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01st February 2023

Can Glucosamine Help With Joint Pain?

Dr. Devan Patel, PharmD
Can Glucosamine Help With Joint Pain?

If you suffer from joint pain, you've likely tried different methods for offering relief. 

Severe joint pain can affect your quality of life and make daily activities more difficult. 

Glucosamine is a widely available nutritional supplement that's often used in the treatment of joint pain, arthritis, and even other diseases.

Some studies suggest that glucosamine can reduce the severity of joint pain and slow the progression of certain forms of arthritis. 

Read below to learn more about glucosamine and how it can help with joint health and relieve pain. 


What Is Glucosamine?

Glucosamine is a naturally occurring compound found in the body that plays an important role in the formation of glycosaminoglycans and glycoproteins.

These molecules are essential components of many parts of the joint, such as ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and synovial fluid.

Studies have suggested that glucosamine can help to delay the breakdown of cartilage and even rebuild it.

This could be beneficial for those suffering from osteoarthritis, as it may help to slow down or even reverse the progression of this condition.


How Does It Work?

Animal studies have shown that supplementing with glucosamine can be effective in helping to maintain healthy joints.

It works by stimulating the production of glycosaminoglycans and glycoproteins which are necessary for building up and maintaining joint structures.

Additionally, glucosamine has been found to reduce inflammation associated with osteoarthritis, which can further help to reduce pain and improve mobility.

As such, glucosamine is a popular supplement among those looking for natural ways to support their joint health.


Do Glucosamine Supplements Work for Arthritis?

The benefits of glucosamine as a treatment for arthritis are not concrete.

So far studies have shown mixed results, with some showing improvement and others having no clear benefit.

It's generally accepted that the supplement may be helpful, but more studies are needed to understand the efficacy of the supplement fully.

Glucosamine can usually be taken safely, with rare side effects, so those suffering from arthritis may wish to discuss adding it to their treatment plan with their doctor.


Glucosamine for Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a common condition that can cause joint pain and stiffness.

While many studies have concluded that glucosamine has no benefits for osteoarthritis, others indicate that it may be helpful in relieving symptoms over time.

One controlled study involving 318 osteoarthritis patients found that taking 1,500 mg of the “Rotta formulation” (glucosamine sulfate salts) daily for half a year reduced pain and improved joint function in comparison to the placebo.

The study found that the "Rotta formulation" provided the same pain-relieving benefits as 3 grams of acetaminophen.

Two other studies, which included around 200 people, showed that taking 1,500 mg of glucosamine sulfate daily for three years improved their overall symptoms such as pain, stiffness, and function.

However, these studies may have been industry-influenced, leading to skepticism of results. 

Therefore, it is important to discuss the use of glucosamine with your doctor before starting any treatment regimen.


Glucosamine for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that affects the joints.

It is not caused by everyday wear and tear like osteoarthritis, but rather by the immune system attacking the joints.

This can cause pain, swelling, and stiffness in the affected areas.

Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis typically includes medications to reduce inflammation and pain, as well as physical therapy to help maintain joint mobility.

Glucosamine has long been thought to have no benefits for those with rheumatoid arthritis.

 However, a recent study of 51 adults suggests otherwise.

The study found that taking 1,500 mg of glucosamine hydrochloride for three months improved symptoms more than a placebo.

Further research is needed to confirm these findings before glucosamine can be recommended as an effective treatment option.


What Are the Side Effects and Risks of Glucosamine?

Glucosamine is generally considered safe, with minimal side effects.

The most common side effects are gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, heartburn, diarrhea, or constipation; drowsiness or fatigue; and rashes.

While these side effects are usually mild and temporary, it’s important to be aware of them in case they become more severe or persistent.

It’s also important to note that glucosamine can interact with Warfarin, a blood thinner often prescribed to reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke.

Taking both glucosamine and Warfarin can increase your risk of bleeding, so it’s important to talk to your doctor if you are taking either medication before starting a glucosamine supplement.

Overall, glucosamine appears to be a safe supplement for treating osteoarthritis when taken as directed by your doctor.


Other Supplements for Joint Pain

While glucosamine may be a helpful supplement for reducing joint pain, other supplements such as chondroitin may be useful when taken in combination. 

Chondroitin is a type of molecule that is widely found in the body, particularly in cartilage and connective tissues.

It has been used for hundreds of years as an herbal medicine to treat joint pain and arthritis.

Studies have shown it can help reduce inflammation, slow down cartilage breakdown, and improve range of motion and flexibility.

Many people who suffer from joint pain report positive results when taking Chondroitin supplements or using topical gels.


Glucosamine for Joint Pain: The Takeaway

Although the jury is still out regarding glucosamine's effectiveness for joint pain, the current studies show promise. 

Natural supplements are generally a safe and more economical alternative to prescription pain medications.*

PodiVite is a multi-nutrient dietary supplement formulated for supporting nerve, joint, and ligament health.*

It includes ingredients like glucosamine, chondroitin, and other powerful nutrients scientifically backed for reducing inflammation and aiding in pain relief.*

An all-in-one natural supplement like PodiVite may be useful in your search for safe and effective joint pain support.*

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease