Glucosamine is a molecule that occurs naturally in connective tissue, including cartilage. This molecule is manufactured by the body from glucose and the amino acid glutamine. It is incorporated into many cartilage structures and thus plays a crucial role in maintaining the integrity of joint cartilage. Glucosamine, which is found in dietary supplements, is extracted from the shells of crustaceans.
What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis results from the deterioration of the cartilage, which progresses to the damage of all the structures of the joint, in particular the bone underlying the cartilage (subchondral bone). Excessive pressure weakens the cartilage, causing fragments to break off like grains of sand in the joint cavity. In response, the bone underneath the cartilage proliferates and forms a bony collar around the joint. The pain of osteoarthritis does not come from the damaged cartilage itself (the cartilage has no nerves), but from the inflammation of the joint.
- According to existing scientific data, glucosamine acts on many factors responsible for the disturbance of the biochemical balance in the knee cartilage. It increases the lubricating action of synovial fluid and slows down the degradation of cartilage. Glucosamine is also said to have beneficial effects on various markers of bone and cartilage health.
- Glucosamine and chondroitin are inseparable. According to a study carried out on 1,580 people over a period of five years, the North American National Institutes of Health (NIH) states that the mixture of glucosamine (1,500 mg) and chondroitin (1,200 mg) is the most effective in reducing (moderate to severe) knee joint pain. Another study, this time in Europe, carried out on 318 patients, corroborated this finding on the effectiveness of glucosamine at a dose of 1500 mg.