Glucosamine and chondroitin are molecules that are part of the cartilage of the joints. In the form of dietary supplements, they can be taken to relieve knee pain and reduce inflammation in cartilage and connective tissues.
When the production of glucosamine and chondroitin is insufficient, friction is generated in the cartilage tissue. If this situation is maintained for long periods, osteoarthrosis develops.
Although glucosamine and chondroitin are not supplements capable of curing arthritis, they can alleviate its symptoms.
This article outlines glucosamine and chondroitin’s benefits, side effects, and contraindications. How is it taken?
What is glucosamine?
Glucosamine is a monosaccharide produced by cartilage tissue in the body. It acts as a natural lubricant and shock absorber for the joints. It is one of the critical components of joint fluid and improves the regeneration of cartilage cells.
Glucosamine has the function of lubricating the junction between the bones. Its primary function is to avoid friction and wear in each movement. Most glucosamine supplements on the market are derived from marine animals.
When there is a lack of glucosamine in the body, every movement is painful. Like a car engine without oil, the same is true of the knees. Glucosamine helps together with other fluids surrounding the joints to lubricate themselves and the movement to be natural.
What is chondroitin?
Chondroitin (in its sulfate form) is a natural cartilage component and the fluids surrounding the joints. The molecule participates in the sulfur binding process and contributes to calcium deposition in the bones. It has analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects and promotes joint degeneration (a chondroprotective).
The main property of chondroitin is its ability to store fluid in cartilage. It allows for increasing the water cavities, creating cushioning. Chondroitin supplements provide the raw material to improve the connective tissue between the joints.
The primary function of chondroitin is to retain water, something essential when the cartilage is damaged. It acts as a connector between the sugars and proteins of the tissue. By making an impact or compression movement in the joints, chondroitin can smooth the action as if it were a water mattress.
Benefits of taking glucosamine and chondroitin
Studies indicate that one of the main benefits of taking these supplements is improving the quality of joint fluid. (1,2) This is why some doctors recommend it.
Taking 1500 mg of glucosamine – chondroitin per day prevents future wear of the bones and joints. It is recommended for people who have problems in the knee and hip areas.
In addition, the idea is to complement the treatment with muscle recovery methods to strengthen the muscles that surround the joints.
The benefits of taking glucosamine are:
- Relieve knee and lower back pain
- Reduce inflammation
- Prevent osteoarthritis
- Increase the density of the fluid that surrounds the joints
Side effects and contraindications
Taking glucosamine and chondroitin is considered safe. In rare cases, side effects have been recorded, such as:
- Allergies and skin reactions
- Allergies and skin reactions
This supplement is contraindicated for people allergic to crustaceans and marine animals. Studies in pregnant women and lactation periods are not conclusive, so taking them in these cases is not recommended.
How to take glucosamine and chondroitin?
While there is no strictly defined glucosamine and chondroitin dosage per day, taking about 1500 mg daily is recommended to obtain its benefits. The usual is three tablets of 500 mg before meals.
Combining glucosamine with Omega-3 capsules is an excellent way to improve treatment results. Taking 1.5 g glucosamine regularly can reduce the loss of natural collagen. (1)
The following graph shows that glucosamine sulfate acts synergistically with Omega-3 as a treatment for the joints.
Low doses of glucosamine (200 mg) do not affect joint treatments (3). The use of glucosamine in creams or ointments is also not practical, similar to hydrolyzed collagen. Neither collagen nor glucosamine can be absorbed through the skin.
Glucosamine and Chondroitin – Differences
The main difference between glucosamine and chondroitin is that the former participates in tissue regeneration. Chondroitin can reduce inflammation by incorporating water. Both molecules are generally sold together in supplement form.
You cannot say that glucosamine is better than chondroitin and vice versa. Their function is different, so it is recommended to take them together. Remember that the benefits of taking glucosamine and chondroitin appear after at least four weeks.
Collagen and glucosamine
Collagen and glucosamine are closely related. Taking glucosamine in the form of supplements is one way to prevent a lack of collagen in the skin. The loss of collagen is a process that occurs at a rate of 1-2% from the age of 25. (6)
When collagen decreases, wrinkles and stretch marks appear, the skin becomes dry, and the joints wear out. Taking glucosamine and chondroitin supplements such as hydrolyzed collagen is an excellent way to reduce the effect of aging and improve joint lubrication.
Glucosamine is found in the shells of mollusks and other crustaceans, animals’ bones and bone marrow, and some fungi. The source for the production of most glucosamine sulfate supplements is shellfish.
Both glucosamine, chondroitin, and collagen are found in meat, gelatin, and other products made from animal bone tissue. Taking supplements versus consuming foods with glucosamine is its higher absorption percentage.
- Glucosamine and chondroitin are two molecules that are part of tendons. Its primary function is the lubrication of the joints.
- Taking 1500 mg of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate can help prevent and relieve symptoms of osteoarthritis.
- Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements have virtually no side effects. They are not recommended for people who are allergic to shellfish or fish.