Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements have always been popular and effective for many who suffer from with joint pain. But new research is showing that these supplements may also decrease your chances of early death, especially by cardiovascular disease.
Role of Glucosamine in Joint Health
Glucosamine is a nutrient that naturally occurs in joint tissues, skin, nails, bones and ligaments. The fluid that occupies the space in your joints is called “synovial fluid” and glucosamine is found there, as well. It is used by the body in the production of cartilage. It stimulates the production of new cartilage, blocks enzymes that break down connective tissue, and reduces pain and inflammation.
Cartilage is that flexible, connective tissue that functions as the padding at the ends of your bones where your joints meet. As you age, your body’s glucosamine levels start to fall, your cartilage becomes less flexible, and your synovial fluid diminishes, which in part all leads to the breakdown of joints. The evidence of glucosamine’s benefit illustrates that the naturally occurring sulphur found in glucosamine is the key to joint health, because sulphur must be present in cartilage to maintain and repair it. Glucosamine also helps build hyaluronic acid production. Hyaluronic acid provides strength and elasticity to your joints and ligaments, as well as your skin. Glucosamine sulphate, or GLS, also helps reduce inflammation, which results in the reduction of pain.
Two Studies Relating to Heart Health
Studies have shown that there may also be a benefit to talking glucosamine for heart health. A study in the British Medical Journal showed that regular use of a glucosamine supplement to relieve osteoarthritis pain might also be related to lower risks of cardiovascular disease, specifically atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is considered a chronic inflammatory disease, and glucosamine provides anti-inflammatory results, which protects your heart by enhancing the repair of damaged tissue and reducing inflammation.
Now a new study in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine has also shown that because of glucosamine and chondroitin’s anti-inflammatory effects and their positive effects on heart health, they may also improve longevity as well as regular exercise does. In fact, taking glucosamine and chondroitin for a year or longer was associated with a 39% reduction in early death from any cause. The supplement was also linked to a 65% reduction in cardiovascular-related deaths.
This, of course, does not mean that you should quit exercising!
Glucosamine and Chondroitin Supplements
If you are interested in taking glucosamine, or a glucosamine/chondroitin combination, there are many options to choose from. The recommended dose for glucosamine is 1500 mg per day and for chondroitin, it’s 1200 mg per day.
Photo from here, with thanks.