Many people choose to take natural or herbal supplements in order to deal with pain, illness, and other physical maladies and people suffering from fibromyalgia syndrome are no different. Glucosamine and chondroitin are quickly becoming very popular amongst fibromyalgia and arthritis sufferers. Used to reduce pain symptoms and increase joint strength, glucosamine and chondroitin might be just what you need to get your life back on track.
What is Glucosamine?
Glucosamine, also known as glucosamine sulfate, is being used more and more to help control joint pain and cartilage damage. Glucosamine is actually produced naturally by our bodies. It is made from glucose, a sugar found inside your blood, and from an amino acid called glutamine. Glucosamine lives inside cells throughout your body, particularly in the cells that make up your joints and cartilage. Glucosamine works to keep your cartilage healthy, preventing your joints from breaking down. It also acts as a building block for your body to create new cartilage cells.
What is Chondroitin?
Chondroitin is also produced naturally by your body. Referred to as chondroitin sulfate, chondroitin is an amino acid found inside of your joint cartilage. It helps to keep your joints lubricated by attracting and absorbing water. Additionally, it works against inflammation, reducing pain symptoms. Unfortunately, chondroitin declines as you age, resulting in joint stiffness and weakness.
What are Glucosamine and Chondroitin Used For?
Glucosamine and chondroitin are used to help decrease symptoms of pain and to increase cartilage strength and health. The two supplements are often used in tandem to help people suffering from:
- rheumatoid arthritis
- joint injuries
- joint and muscle stiffness
How does Glucosamine and Chondroitin Work?
Despite the glut of recent studies on these two supplements, researchers are still unsure of how glucosamine and chondroitin actually work. It is thought that both of these chemicals work by inhibiting an enzyme called lysosome. Lysosome is responsible for causing tissue degeneration inside your body, particularly around your joints.
How Effective is Glucosamine and Chondroitin?
Glucosamine and chondroitin have been used in a number of clinical studies in recent years. Over 18 separate studies have been performed to examine the usefulness of glucosamine, while chondroitin has been analyzed in over 8 different studies.
In general, both glucosamine and chondroitin have proven more effective than a placebo in reducing joint pain. They have also been shown to produce fewer side effects than popular NSAIDS, such as ibuprofen and aspirin. However, glucosamine and chondroitin may not be effective enough on their own to facilitate symptom relief. Speak with your health care provider about using glucosamine and chondroitin in conjunction with other fibromyalgia medications.
Using Glucosamine and Chondroitin for Fibromyalgia
Many fibromyalgia sufferers report that glucosamine and chondroitin supplements help to relieve some of their fibromyalgia symptoms. In particular, fibromyalgia patients find that these two nutritional supplements help to:
- relieve joint and muscle pain
- reduce the inflammation caused by related diseases, like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
- increase joint strength and range of motion
How Do You Take Glucosamine and Chondroitin?
Glucosamine and chondroitin are typically taken in the form of nutritional supplements. Usually taken together, both glucosamine and chondroitin can be also be taken individually, with excellent results.
Glucosamine supplements are made of crab, lobster, and shrimp cells, while chondroitin supplements are created from animal cartilage, particularly shark cartilage. It is important to consult your health care provider before taking glucosamine, chondroitin, or any other type of nutritional supplement. These therapies do cause side effects and sometimes react dangerously with other types of medications.
Studies have shown that the most effective dosage of glucosamine is around 1500mg per day, however, dosage does depend upon your height and weight. If you weigh less than 100 pounds, you should consider taken only 1000mg a day. Chondroitin is also taken daily, in 1200mg caplets.
Side Effects of Glucosamine and Chondroitin
There are some side effects associated with regular use of glucosamine and chondroitin. The most common side effects include:
- intestinal gas
- soft stools
If you experience any adverse reactions while taking glucosamine or chondroitin, you should consult with your health care provider.