Glucosamine - Q&A
Q What is arthritis?
A Arthritis refers to inflammation of the joints. The most
common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which is also known
as degenerative joint disease because it is characterized by joint
degeneration and loss of cartilage - the shock absorbing gel like
material between joints.
The percentage of people with osteoarthritis increases
dramatically with age. Surveys have indicated that over 40 million
Americans have osteoarthritis, including 80% of persons over the
age of 50. Under the age of 45, it is much more common in women.
Q What joints are affected in osteoarthritis?
A The weight bearing joints such as the knees, hips, and
spine, as well as the hands, are the joints most often affected
with the degenerative changes of osteoarthritis. These joints are
under greater stress because of weight and use.
Q How does a person know if he or she has osteoarthritis?
A The onset of osteoarthritis can be subtle. Morning joint
stiffness is often the first symptom. As the disease progresses,
there is pain during motion of the involved joint, which is made
worse by prolonged activity and relieved by rest
Osteoarthritis is usually quite easily distinguished
from other types of arthritis. In more inflammatory forms of arthritis
like rheumatoid arthritis and gout, the joints will appear red,
spongy and warm. In osteoarthritis, however, the joint will generally
be cooler and bony hard. If you think you have arthritis consult
a physician for an accurate diagnosis.
Diagnostic summary of osteoarthritis.
Symptoms: mild early morning stiffness, following periods of rest,
pain that worsens on joint use, and loss of joint function.
Signs: local tenderness, soft tissue swelling, joint crepitus, bony
swelling, restricted mobility, Heberedn’s nodes, and other sign
of degenerative loss of articular cartilage.
Q What causes osteoarthritis?
A Osteoarthritis is divided into two categories, primary
and secondary. In primary osteoarthritis, the degenerative “ wear
and tear” process occurs after a person turns 40 years of age. The
cumulative effects of decades of use leads to the degenerative changes
by stressing the collagen matrix of the cartilage. Damage to the
cartilage results in the release of enzymes that destroy cartilage
components. With aging, the ability to restore and manufacture normal
cartilage structures decreases. So, what I am saying is that aging
is the primary cause of osteoarthritis. But, just because you may
be getting older doesn’t mean that you have to suffer from the pain
Secondary osteoarthritis is associated with some
predisposing factor which is responsible for the degenerative changes.
These predisposing factors include: inherited abnormalities in joint
structure or function; trauma (fractures along joint surfaces, surgery,
etc.); presence of abnormal cartilage; and previous inflammatory
disease of the joint (rheumatoid arthritis, gout, etc.).
Q What is the conventional medical treatment
A The primary drugs used in the treatment of osteoarthritis
are the so-called “nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs”
which includes asprin. Although these drugs are extensively used
in the united states, research indicates that they may actually
accelerate the progression of joint destruction and cause more problems
down the road. These drugs are also associated with side effects
including gastrointestinal upset, headaches, and dizziness, and
are therefore recommended for only short periods of time.
Q How do they accelerate joint destruction?
A NSAIDs work by inhibiting enzymes involved in the production
of inflammatory compounds. Enzymes are molecules that speed up chemical
reactions. They either join molecules or split them by making or
breaking the chemical bonds that keep molecules together. NSAIDs
not only suppress the enzymes that produce inflammatory compounds,
but they also inhibit enzymes that manufacture cartilage components.
So, you see why the use of NSAIDs in the treatment
of osteoarthritis is a classic example of a drug suppressing the
symptom while promoting the progression of the disease process.
A person may feel free from pain while on the NSAID, but his or
her arthritis is silently getting worse as noted in several clinical
studies that have shown that NSAID use is associated with acceleration
or osteoarthritis and increased joint destruction.
Q What can be used instead of NSAIDs in the treatment
A Glucosamine! Glucosamine is a simple molecule that can
be naturally produced in the body. The main function of glucosamine
on joints is to stimulate the manufacture of molecules known as
glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) key structural components of cartilage.
It Appears that as some people age, they lose the ability to manufacture
sufficient levels of glucosamine. The result is that cartilage loses
its ability to act as a shock absorber. The body’s inability to
manufacture glucosamine has been suggested to be the major factor
leading to osteoarthritis. That’s why supplementing your diet with
stabilized glucosamine is so vitally important.
Total Health Recommended Glucosmine Products
Q Are there scientific studies that show Glucosamine
A Yes. Glucosamine has been the subject of more than 300
scientific investigations and over 20 double blind clinical studies.
The benefits of Glucosamine in the treatment of
osteoarthritis are impressive. In one of the more recent studies
comparing Glucosamine to a placebo, 252 patients with osteoarthritis
of the knee were given either a placebo or 500mg of Glucosamine
three times daily for four weeks. Glucosamine was significantly
effective in improving pain and movement after only four weeks of
use. Previous studies have shown that the longer Glucosamine is
used the more obvious the therapeutic benefit. These results are
consistent with other double blind studies versus a placebo.
Q Have there been studies comparing Glucosamine
A Yes. In these head to head double blind studies Glucosamine
was shown to produce better results than NSAIDs in relieving the
pain and inflammation of osteoarthritis despite the fact that Glucosamine
exhibits very little direct anti inflammatory effect and no direct
analgesic or pain relieving effects. While NSAIDs offer purely symptomatic
relief and may actually promote the disease process, Glucosamine
appears to address the cause of osteoarthritis. By treating the
root of the problem through actually building joint cartilage, Glucosamine
not only improves the symptoms, including pain, it also helps the
body repair damaged joints. The clinical effect is impressive, especially
when Glucosamine’s safety and lack of side effects is considered.
Q How long before results are seen with Glucosamine?
A With Glucosamine supplementation, most people will experience
significant improvement within two to eight weeks. However, the
longer it is used the more obvious the results. The effects are
cumulative and long lasting.
Q Does Glucosamine interact with any drugs?
A There have been no reports of any adverse drug interactions
with Glucosamine. The only caveat is that individuals taking diuretics
may need to take higher dosages
Q I am a diabetic. Can I Take Glucosamine?
A Yes 98% of glucosamine is absorbed intact and has absolutely
no effect on blood sugar levels.