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NOW® Foods is proud to announce the receipt of the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) certification from the National Nutritional Foods Association (NNFA). The National Nutritional Foods Association, the largest dietary supplement trade association in the United States, has implemented the GMP program as a means to strengthen the credibility of the industry.
What is Glucosamine Sulfate?
Glucosamine is a substance found naturally in the body. Glucosamine is a form of an amino sugar that is believed to play a role in cartilage formation and repair. Glucosamine is a nutritional supplement that is extracted from crab, lobster or shrimp shells. Glucosamine is believed to help people rebuild damaged joints, tendons, cartilage and soft tissue.
What is it used for?
This supplement has been used to treat osteoarthritis in horses and dogs for several years. In Europe, people have used glucosamine to treat osteoarthritis since the 1980's.
Glucosamine and Arthritis:
An estimated 18 million Americans suffer from some from of arthritis. Osteoarthritis, the most common form, affects cartilage, causing it to fray, wear, and in extreme cases, to disappear entirely, leaving a bone-to-bone joint. The result - Excruciating pain!
By age 65, approximately 75 percent of the population has x-ray evidence of Osteoarthritis in the hand , foot, knee and/or hip. Symptoms include body stiffness and pain in the joints, during damp weather, in the morning, or after heavy exercise.
What do you look for?
Glucosamine comes in several forms called salts, usually either in glucosamine sulfate or glucosamine hydrochloride. Both forms have been reported to work well, although most studies have been done with the sulfate form.
Many studies have suggested that glucosamine sulfate is the most effective form of glucosamine due to fact it is a smaller in molecular size and is more readily absorbed. Lab tests show it is 98% absorbable and because the molecules are small and simple, they actually penetrate the cartilage, where they can help build the special proteins that keep cartilage strong and healthy.
Glucosamine Sulfate, an aminomonosaccharide, is a naturally occuring substance in the body essential for the normal growth and repair of connective tissue, joints and articular cartilage.
How do you take them?
Taking glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate together has not been shown to increase their individual effects. If you decide to take either or both, experts recommend taking the amount that has been used in studies. For glucosamine sulfate this amount is 1500 mg per day.
Try the supplements for ten to twelve weeks along with your currently prescribed medications. If you don't experience any difference in your symptoms within that time frame, you probably will not get any relief supplementing with glucosamine sulfate. Some people get partial relief supplementing with glucosamine sulfate while still needing their current medication to get full relief. People with advanced osteoarthritis with a great deal of cartilage loss probably will not benefit supplementing with glucosamine sulfate.
Because dietary supplements are unregulated, the quality and contents may vary widely. Be sure to choose a product sold by a well established company, and read and understand the product label ingredient list.
NOTE: Be sure to consult your physician before trying any nutritional supplement, do not stop or reduce any currently prescribed medications without consulting your physician.
Are there side effects?
Some common side effects reported are an increase in intestinal gas and softened stools. If you notice any unusual new symptoms while you are taking glucosamine sulfate, be sure to consult your physician. Remember that supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. The qualityof supplements in stores may vary greatly.
Some people may want to be especially careful when considering supplementing with glucosamine sulfate:
Children, women who are pregnant, and women who could become pregnant should not take these supplements. They have not been studied long enough to determine their effects on a child or on a developing fetus.
Because glucosamine is an amino sugar, people with diabetes should check their blood sugar levels more frequently when taking this supplement.
If you are taking chondroitin sulfate in addition to a blood-thinning medication or daily aspirin therapy, have your blood clotting time checked more often. This supplement is similar in structure to the blood-thinning drug heparin, and the combination may cause bleeding in some people.
If you are allergic to shellfish, consult your doctor before deciding to take glucosamine. In most cases, however, allergies are caused by proteins in shellfish, not chitin, a carbohydrate from which glucosamine is extracted.
Questions and Answers
How does glucosamine work?
Occuring naturally in the body, glucosamine is an important component in cartilage repair and protection. Test tube and animal studies show glucosamine supplements help increase cartilage production and reduce inflammation.
How is glucosamine taken?
Glucosamine must be taken every day. This is a slow acting supplement that may take a month or more to show any effect. Dosage in most studies is 1500 mg per day. The product is available in powder, pill and cream form. The cream form may be nice for your skin, but there's no evidence glucosamine applied externally will do a thing for your arthritis. Powders are mixed with liquids to make a drink.
Are all the available products equally effective?
In several countries glucosamine is approved and regulated as a prescription drug. But in the United States, glucosamine is a nutritional supplement, and are not tested or regulated as prescriptions are. Tests have shown that some supplements did not contain the amount of glucosamine promised on the label.
Are there risks?
Short term there does not appear to be any side effects other than mild gastrointestinal upset for some people. Those with diabetes need to consult with a physician and have their condition monitored.
Glucosamine is derived from shellfish, Should those with allergies stay away from glucosamine?
Not necessarily. The risk of allergic reaction is extremely low. That's because shellfish allergies are caused by proteins in shellfish , not the shells, and glucosamine comes from chitin, a substance in the shells. If you develop symptoms such as hives, or shortness of breath after taking glucosamine, stop taking the supplement and call your physician. Any allergic reaction is potentially dangerous.
How to tell if glucosamine is working for you.
Some people with osteoarthritis who take glucosamine have less pain and joint stiffness. Since glucosamine is a slow acting supplement, it may take a month or more to notice a change in the way you feel.