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Easing Arthritis Pain with Glucosamine & Chondroitin Supplements

 

If you suffer from arthritis pain, chances are you’ve heard of an over-the-counter remedy called Glucosamine. But what is Glucosamine, and how does it work to relieve arthritis?

Like anything else there are pros and cons to using this supplement.  By the time you’ve finished reading this article, you’ll be able to make an informed decision on whether or not Glucosamine is right for you.

What is Glucosamine?

Glucosamine is classified as an amino sugar. Unlike other forms of sugar in the body, amino sugars are components of carbohydrates that are used in the structure of body tissues rather than as energy.  Therefore, Glucosamine is involved in the formation of the nails, tendons, skin, eyes, bones, ligaments, and heart valves.  It also is part of the mucous secretions of the digestive, respiratory and urinary tracts.

Since Glucosamine is a building block in the joints, it is most effective in Osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis affects everyone over 40 as the body ages and the joints begin to ache because they are breaking down and diminishing in fluid.

Glucosamine, together with a related ingredient called Chondroitin, are substances which exist naturally in your body. It is believed that glucosamine helps to build and repair cartilage (the soft, spongy material between your joints), while chondroitin lends to the elasticity and flexibility of joints. A deficiency of either one can lead to increased wear and tear on the joint, and cause redness, swelling and stiffness as a result.

A few years ago I attended a lecture by a prominent physician here in San Antonio. He described what was involved in a joint and how these two difficult to pronounce words could be helpful.

He was all in favor of glucosamine.  He described how it is produced artificially for supplements in a bottle.  It is made from shrimp tails.  The primary source is Japan. And in his opinion only one company made a quality product.  He would not disclose that name during the lecture.  You had to see him later and go thru the presentation.

Anyway, according to him, the shrimp tails are dumped on a dock area and sit.  Only fresh shrimp tails make a quality supplement and the fresh ones are the most expensive. Most (according to him) manufacturers bought the older dried tails and those would be much less effective.  And if there manufacturing methods were less than desirable, you would be getting excrement and well as fillers in your supplement.

On the other hand Chondroitin - according to this physician - the molecular structure of Chondroitin makes it impossible to produce an artificial supplement that can be absorbed by the body.

I know many people who take a combination supplement and swear by it.  They say the combination works much better than just the glucosamine alone. I have tried both and see no difference.

When used together, glucosamine and chondroitin act as a tag-team of arthritis fighters, improving flexibility, soothing inflammation and reducing swelling caused by achy joints.

Where Can I Buy Glucosamine and Chondroitin Supplements?

You can find these products at virtually any pharmacy or health goods store or even on line.  The downside to this is, like other herbal and alternative medicines, supplements are not regulated by any governing body. That’s why you’ll need to do a little bit of research to find the best, most potent brand for your needs.