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benefits, osteoarthritis, danger, is it good?

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Glucosamine (glucosamine sulfate or hydrochloride) is an amino acid made by the body from glucose and glutamine. This substance helps maintain healthy articular cartilage. It is sold as a food supplement or medicine.

Glucosamine is an essential substance for joints because it participates in the formation and strengthening of cartilage. The body synthesizes it naturally but it can be taken in the form of medicine in case ofosteoarthritis For example.

Definition: what is glucosamine?

Glucosamine is a ssubstance that the body naturally synthesizes from glutamine (an amino acid) and glucose. Glucosamine is used to strengthen cartilage and joints. If the glucosamine synthesis process malfunctions, the cartilages will lose their robustness and thus promote the appearance of osteoarthritis. It is because of its properties that the glucosamine is sold as a dietary supplement or medicine. Glucosamine exists in various forms. In general, the treatment must be taken between a month and a month and a half before feeling the full effects. Usually glucosamine is associated with chondroitin (which promotes the reconstruction of the cartilage), in particular if the relief is insufficient after two months of treatment.

Glucosamine is extracted from the shell of certain crustaceans such as shrimps, crabs or langoustines. “Its exact mechanism of action is not known. recognizes Augustine Pithon, pharmacist. “It would increase the lubricating action of synovial fluid – which serves to limit friction during movement – ​​and which is naturally present in the joints”.

What are the indications for glucosamine?

Glucosamine is used to fight the symptoms of osteoarthritis (better known as osteoarthritis) when it is mild or moderate“, continues the pharmacist. “It makes it possible to act on the level of pain and to restore a little mobility to the affected joints.“. Glucosamine is mainly used in case of osteoarthritis of the knee but also in case of hip osteoarthritis (it proves to be less effective in the case of vertebral osteoarthritis). Additionally, glucosamine is used to slow down the progression of osteoarthritis. In some cases, it allows to avoid surgery to place a prosthesis. Finally, it is used for accelerate healing in athletes who have suffered a joint injury (especially at the knee). In 2012, the European health authorities (EFSA, European Food Safety Authority and the European Commission) ruled on certain health claims made by food supplements containing glucosamine. After examining the scientific data, they estimated that these products cannot claim :

  • relieve or prevent inflammation ;
  • strengthen the body’s resistance to infections and stimulate the immune system ;
  • slow or reduce the process of cartilage destruction and, consequently, reduce the risk of osteoarthritis;
  • promote joint mobilitythe health of joint surfaces, cartilage, ligaments, bones, blood vessels or skin.

These effect claims are now prohibited for dietary supplements containing glucosamine.

What benefits against osteoarthritis?

Glucosamine has an analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect”, assures our interlocutor. “It thus allows relieve symptoms of mild to moderate osteoarthritis (pain, restricted mobility) with fewer side effects than non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. On the other hand, it is not effective on lumbar osteoarthritis“.

What medicines contain glucosamine?

Glucosamine is used in several medications, either in the form of tablets in Dolenio®, Flexea® and Voltaflex®or in the form of capsules, in Structoflex®either in the form of an oral solution, in Osaflexan®.

What are the side effects and danger of glucosamine?

In March 2019, ANSES (National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety) reported having received reports of adverse effects following the intake of food supplements containing chondroitin sulphate and/or glucosamine. The reported effects are varied: nausea, diarrhoea, heartburn, stomach ache, redness and itching, hepatitis or purpura (bleeding skin lesions).

What are the contraindications of glucosamine?

As a precaution glucosamine should not be used in pregnant and breastfeeding women because no clinical study has been carried out to date”, insists our pharmacist. “It should also be used with caution in patients on oral anticoagulants of the AVK type.“.

Thanks to Augustine Pithon, Evolupharm pharmacist in Beauvais (60).

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