Glucosamine is a natural chemical compound found in the body and plays a vital role in building cartilage.

What are its health benefits?

It is an important component of joint health, but natural glucosamine levels decrease as people age, which may lead to joint deterioration. There is some evidence to suggest that glucosamine sulphate supplementation helps to counteract this effect.

Glucosamine supplements may have the following benefits:

  • Assists in the relief of pain associated with mild-to-moderate osteoarthritis of the knee, hip and possibly other joints
  • Aids in the improvement of function in people suffering with arthritis, mainly osteoarthritis of the hip or knee
  • Assists in the reduction of swelling and stiffness in the joints
  • Assists in the relief of pain associated with temporomandibular disorders (TMD), that is, disorders affecting the jaw and facial muscles
  • Studies are underway to establish its potential for assisting in the management of inflammatory bowel disease, and suppressing the damaging autoimmune response that occurs in multiple sclerosis

Do you have a deficiency?

As bone density gradually decreases with age, joint stiffness may set in, usually after the age of 50. This may indicate a glucosamine deficiency. An X-ray is usually the best way to confirm this.

Recommended dietary allowance (RDA)

The suggested RDA for glucosamine sulphate is 500mg three times a day for osteoarthritis, usually taken with a meal, but it’s best to discuss dosages with your doctor or Clicks pharmacist.

Warnings

It is interesting to note that supplements are often manufactured using the outer layer of certain shellfish. Therefore, glucosamine should not be taken if you have a shellfish allergy.

Also, because its safety during pregnancy and breastfeeding has not been established, it should be avoided.

Individuals with diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, bleeding disorders or high blood pressure, as well as those on heart medicines, insulin and blood thinners should speak to their doctor or Clicks pharmacist before commencing glucosamine supplementation.

Possible side effects

Possible side effects could include:

Ensure you discuss dietary supplementation with your Clicks pharmacist to avoid the potential for side effects and adverse interactions with medications.

This medicine has not been evaluated by the Medicines Control Council. This medicine is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

The accuracy of this information was checked and approved by Clicks' pharmacist Waheed Abdurahman in September 2015